Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Seminole High standout Casey Kotchman to get his shot with Tampa Bay Rays

CHICAGO — 1B Casey Kotchman started his day heading to the Gwinnett County ballpark expecting to play in a Triple-A game.

He ended it happy to be back in the big leagues, fighting traffic in Atlanta and then Chicago. He arrived at U.S. Cellular Field as the game started and pinch-hit in the eighth.

"Certainly, and to be able to get a W (Friday night) and see some spirits high in here," Kotchman said.

The former Seminole High star signed a minor-league contract with the Rays and made a solid case for a job with a strong spring, hitting .354 with one homer, five doubles and five RBIs, but the Rays wanted to see more and sent him to Triple-A Durham at the end of spring.

"I didn't really analyze it a whole lot," Kotchman said. "I just tried to get my work in and stay ready."

Kotchman, 28, is expected to be in the Rays lineup on a somewhat regular basis, playing first base most days with Dan Johnson at DH. But Johnson will also play some at first, and it's possible the Rays will use Johnny Damon more often in the DH spot, with Sam Fuld getting more time in leftfield.

SHOPPACH OKAY: C Kelly Shoppach left the game with a sore right knee after an awkward seventh-inning play but told manager Joe Maddon after the game he felt okay and could play today if needed.

"He said he's fine," Maddon said. "It's almost like it scared him a little bit, kind of an awkward feeling."

Shoppach was hurt on an odd play, as the Sox had men on first and third, and Joel Peralta's pitch got past him and bounced off the wall. Shoppach, who missed two months last season with a right knee injury, played the carom and flipped the ball to Peralta, who tagged out Brent Morel at the plate.

MISCELLANY: OF B.J. Upton extended his hitting streak to include all seven games. … Damon's homer off John Danks was his first off a lefty since Aug. 28, 2009. … The Rays beat a left-handed starter for the first time since the end of the 2010 regular season.

deja VU: RHP Adam Russell started his career with the White Sox before being traded (from Triple-A Charlotte) to the Padres in the July 2009 Jake Peavy deal, then to the Rays in December for Jason Bartlett. So not only was Thursday his first game at U.S. Cellular Field as a visitor, but it also was his first back since Game 4 of the 2008 AL division series, when the Sox were eliminated by the Rays. "That," Russell said, "is a little ironic."

FAMILIAR FACE: RHP Jeff Niemann and White Sox RHP Phil Humber were two-thirds of a talented trio at Rice University, along with RHP Wade Townsend. Niemann is looking forward to it, not having seen him pitch since their college days, but to a degree. "It'll be good to see him pitch," Niemann said. "And nice to beat him."

Seminole High standout Casey Kotchman to get his shot with Tampa Bay Rays 04/08/11 [Last modified: Saturday, April 9, 2011 12:46am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rowdies anxious to get back on track


    ST. PETERSBURG — Having already played four matches in less than two weeks' time, the Rowdies have to turn around again on short rest to host Saint Louis FC today.

    And they're actually glad about it.

  2. Rays pitchers rave about Twins pitching coach, ex-mentor Neil Allen

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — There have been a lot of coaches who have had a hand in helping Chris Archer get to the big leagues and to the front of the Rays rotation, and as he took the mound Friday night at Target Field, he had reason to nod appreciatively toward the home dugout.

    In their third year with pitching coach Neil Allen, the Twins have been one of the surprises of the American League.
  3. State baseball: Bishop McLaughlin bows out in Class 3A semifinals


    FORT MYERS — One inning into Bishop McLaughlin's Class 3A state semifinal against Fort Myers Canterbury, things could not have gone much better for the Hurricanes. They grabbed a quick one-run lead and Canterbury ace Sam Keating was forced out of the game with a nagging neck injury.

     Chris Berglund (18) of Bishop McLaughlin, at bat during second inning of the FHSAA class 3A semi-final on Friday May 26, 2017 at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers, Fla. Canterbury, Fort Myers, defeated Bishop 7 to 4. Canterbury will play in the 3A championship tomorrow.
  4. Bucs WR DeSean Jackson knows only one direction: full speed ahead


    TAMPA — DeSean Jackson is the "1."

    Actually, Jackson, the Bucs' latest weapon for quarterback Jameis Winston, with his blazing speed and game-changing splash plays, wears No. 11 in games.

    DeSean Jackson, a needed game-breaker for Bucs who signed a $33.5 million deal, welcomes big expectations.
  5. Video preview: Rays open tough road trip facing Twins tonight


    After splitting a four-game series against the Angels to wrap up a winning homestand, the Rays tonight open a nine-game, 10-day roadtrip with the first game of the weekend series with the Twins: