NEW YORK -- Brad Ausmus thought the Tigers were getting a stable defensive player when the team traded for Ian Kinsler during the offseason, but Detroit's manager has been blown away by his second baseman's defense so far.
"I guess I was hoping for solid second base; he's been outstanding second base," Ausmus said. "He's a complete baseball player."
Ausmus raved about Kinsler's defense on Tuesday, one day after Kinsler began a nifty double play in the fifth inning to help the Tigers escape trouble in a 2-1 loss to the Yankees in the series opener. The play was largely lost in the shuffle after Ezequiel Carrera's highlight-reel catch, a frontrunner for catch of the year.
Entering Tuesday's game, Kinsler had made just three errors all season, below his usual pace. He committed seven errors in 2010, and that is his only season with less than double digits. Kinsler's ultimate zone rating -- a metric that puts a run value to defense by quantifying how many runs a player saved or allowed -- was 6.6 this season, according to FanGraphs. That is tied for second in the Majors alongside Phillies second baseman Chase Utley.
"To me, he's a Gold Glove second baseman," Ausmus said.
Jamal Collier is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.