Kinsler hollered and gestured as he touched the plate after hitting the go-ahead home run in the sixth inning of the 4-3 win against Pittsburgh, and again in the dugout. Kinsler has been criticized by fans as he's struggled since joining the Padres on an $8 million, two-year deal. Many fans, particularly on social media, felt the outburst was directed at them.
"The only thing that I do regret is doing it on the field in front of everybody, so everyone can interpret it their own way," Kinsler said before Friday night's game, when he was due to start at second base and bat leadoff.
Asked if he wanted to say anything to fans who thought he was directing it at them, to clear things up, he said, "No." The 36-year-old Kinsler, in his 14th big league season, said he's been criticized by fans "my whole life."
Asked about this year, he said: "Yeah, that's part of being an athlete. They pay a ticket to yell at their own team, I guess. They pay a ticket to yell at the other team, whatever. If they want to pay a ticket to yell at people, that's fine. I can't control what the fans do. I just want good energy at the ballpark. I just want people to be supportive of the Padres. ... I can't control the fans."
Kinsler is hitting .175 with five homers and nine RBIs in 37 games. Manager Andy Green reiterated what he said Thursday night, that it wasn't the right response. "He's come out and said directly who he intended it for. I take him at his word on that," Green said. "For us, we understand how that appears to people in that moment and we don't want to give off that impression. We take ownership over that. As an organization we've apologized for that. We intend to move on from that.
"The appearance is not the appearance that we want in this Padres organization," the manager added. "That look is not what we want on the field. He had the opportunity to apologize today and to recognize how that could be perceived and was perceived by a lot of people."
Green declined to say if Kinsler had been disciplined. "We'll continue to talk to all our players in different moments in time and that stuff we'll keep to ourselves." Kinsler said he plays with passion and emotion. He did have a bat flip after driving his fifth homer off the Western Metal Supply Co. Building in the left-field corner.
Two years ago, Kinsler walked back comments he made that seemed to be criticizing players from Latin American countries for playing with too much emotion in the World Baseball Classic. He was on the U.S. team that beat Puerto Rico in the final.
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