Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Mark Kotsay
Mark Steven Kotsay (born December 2, 1975) is an outfielder for the Oakland Athletics.
A native of Whittier, California[1], Kotsay was selected by the Florida Marlins the 9th pick of the Amateur Draft in 1996 out of Cal State Fullerton. In 1995, Kotsay won the Golden Spikes Award and was the Most Outstanding Player of the College World Series, as CS-Fullerton won its third Series championship. In addition to being an outfielder, Kotsay was a closer in college; he pitched the final five outs to clinch his team's CWS title.
Kotsay appeared in 14 games for the Marlins in 1997 before taking over as the team's center fielder in 1998. He was moved to right field after Gary Sheffield was traded, a position better suited for the strong throwing arm which Kotsay regularly showed off. As a rookie, he led all National League outfielders with 20 assists, and led them again in his second year with the same number. In 2000, he led all right fielders with 13 assists. At the plate, Kotsay was an average hitter during these years, hitting around .280 with occasional power and the occasional stolen base. Kotsay was traded in 2001, barely a week before Opening Day, to the San Diego Padres as part of a deal for Matt Clement. Moved back to center field, Kotsay improved his hitting, but he recorded only four outfield assists. This can be largely attributed to the fact that few chose to run on Kotsay. Over the next two seasons, however, Kotsay was defensively back on form, leading all National League center fielders in that category. After his batting average slipped to .266 in 2003, Kotsay was traded to the Athletics for Terrence Long and Ramon Hernandez.
With Oakland in 2004, Kotsay found his stroke and batted a career best .314, along with his customary strong arm afield; he led American League center fielders with 11 assists. Still with Oakland, he currently bats second in the team's lineup with a career .287 average.
On July 9, 2005, the Athletics announced that Kotsay and the team had come to terms on a three-year, $29 million contract extension. [2] The extension keeps Kotsay under contract with the Athletics through the 2008 season and includes a no-trade clause through the 2006 season. News of the contract extension ended speculation that Kotsay would be traded to a team in need of a starting center fielder, such as the New York Yankees.
On Mother's Day, May 14, 2006, Kotsay was one of more than 50 hitters who brandished a pink bat to benefit the Breast Cancer Foundation. He was one of a handful of players to hit a Pink Bat Homerun.
The 2006 season marked Kotsay's first-ever appearance in a postseason game, as the Oakland Athletics clinched the 2006 AL West Division title. On October 4, he hit his first postseason home run against Minnesota Twins pitcher Dennys Reyes for a two run inside the park home run which scored Jason Kendall that put the Oakland A's ahead 4 to 2, leading his team to win Game 2 of the ALDS.
Kotsay underwent back surgery during spring training 2007, and is expected to miss the first three months of the 2007 campaign. Kotsay is currently rehabbing with the A's triple-A affiliate the Sacramento River Cats.
He is happily married to his wife, Jamie, and they have two daughters, Grace and Sienna.

Florida Marlins (1997-2000)
San Diego Padres (2001-2003)

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