George Kottaras
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George Kottaras
George Kottaras
George Kottaras on May 8, 2013.jpg
Kottaras with the Kansas City Royals
Catcher
Born: (1983-05-10) May 10, 1983 (age 36)
Scarborough, Ontario
Batted: Left Threw: Right
MLB debut
September 13, 2008, for the Boston Red Sox
Last MLB appearance
September 28, 2014, for the Toronto Blue Jays
MLB statistics
Batting average.215
Home runs32
Runs batted in101
Teams

George Kottaras ( k?-TAY-r?s; born May 10, 1983) is a Canadian former professional baseball catcher. He has previously played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Boston Red Sox, Milwaukee Brewers, Oakland Athletics, Kansas City Royals, Cleveland Indians, St. Louis Cardinals, and Toronto Blue Jays.

Personal life

Both of Kottaras' parents were born in Greece, but settled in the Toronto area where he was born.[1] He attended Milliken Mills High School in Markham, Ontario, Canada.[2]

Professional career

San Diego Padres

Kottaras was drafted by the San Diego Padres in 20th round of the 2002 Major League Baseball Draft. He signed with the Padres in May 2003 after spending one year at Connors State College in Warner, Oklahoma.

Kottaras began his professional career playing for the Idaho Falls Padres of the Pioneer League, and worked his way up through the Padres minor league system to the Triple-A Portland Beavers in 2006. He played in the 2006 All-Star Futures Game for Team World[3] and was named number 48 in the 2006 Minor League News FAB50 List.[4]

Boston Red Sox

On September 5, 2006, he was traded to the Boston Red Sox to complete an August 31 deal for David Wells and was immediately added to the team's 40-man roster.[5][6] He was assigned to the Red Sox Double A franchise, the Portland Sea Dogs, who had just begun their Eastern League playoff run. Kottaras arrived for Game 2 of Eastern League Division Playoffs and continued playing with the Sea Dogs until they were crowned 2006 Eastern League Champions.[7]

Kottaras played the entire 2007 season for the Triple-A Pawtucket Red Sox. He reported for spring training in 2008 but was optioned back to Pawtucket on March 17, 2008.[8] Kottaras played the regular and post season 2008 schedule for Pawtucket, but after Pawtucket was eliminated from the International League playoffs he was called up to Boston.[9]

On September 8, 2008, he was called up from Pawtucket[10] and on September 13, 2008, he made his major league debut in the 6th inning of a game against the Toronto Blue Jays and scored the only run for the Red Sox that game.[11]

Kottaras playing for the Boston Red Sox in 2009 spring training

In 2009, Kottaras was knuckleball pitcher Tim Wakefield's personal catcher; while Jason Varitek caught the other pitchers in the rotation. After Wakefield went on the disabled list after the All-Star break, Kottaras followed suit with a lower back strain. He remained with Pawtucket until call ups on September 1. With Wakefield's first start in September, Red Sox manager Terry Francona had to decide whether to start Kottaras due to his familiarity with Wakefield or Víctor Martínez due to his bat and having made one start with Wakefield in which he caught the knuckleball very well for the first time.[12] Francona eventually chose Martínez.

Kottaras hit his first major league home run on July 3, 2009, against the Seattle Mariners' Mark Lowe in the bottom of the 11th. For the season, he finished fifth in the league in passed balls, with 8 in 39 games.[13]

Kottaras was released by the Red Sox on November 18, 2009.[14]

Milwaukee Brewers

Kottaras was claimed later in the day by the Milwaukee Brewers.[15]

On September 3, 2011, Kottaras hit for the cycle in a game against the Houston Astros, becoming the seventh Brewer to do so. Kottaras is the third Brewers catcher to achieve the feat, along with Chad Moeller and Charlie Moore.

In 2011, he batted .252 and hit 5 home runs in 111 at bats.[13]

On December 12, 2011, Kottaras avoided arbitration by signing a one-year deal.[16] He was designated for assignment on July 26, 2012.[17]

Oakland Athletics

Kottaras with the Oakland Athletics in 2012

On July 27, 2012, Kottaras was traded to Oakland for pitcher Fautino de los Santos.[17]

On January 14, 2013, Kottaras agreed to a one-year deal to avoid arbitration.[18] Just a day after agreeing to that contract, Kottaras was designated for assignment to clear a roster spot for the newly acquired John Jaso.[19]

Kansas City Royals

On January 25, 2013, Kottaras was claimed off waivers by the Kansas City Royals.[20] In 2013, his locker was assigned next to Mike Moustakas, who is also of Greek descent. "I don't know how many times you've had two Greek guys in the same clubhouse on the same team," Kottaras said. "And they put us next to each other, which makes it even better."[1] He was designated for assignment on November 21, 2013.[21]

Chicago Cubs

Kottaras was traded from the Royals to the Chicago Cubs for cash considerations on November 26, 2013.[22] On December 2, Kottaras signed a one-year deal with the Cubs for $1.075 million, avoiding arbitration.[23] He was released on March 26, 2014.[24]

Cleveland Indians

On March 30, 2014, Kottaras signed a minor league contract with the Cleveland Indians.[25] He played in 9 games with the Triple-A Columbus Clippers before being added to the Indians' 40-man roster in time for the game on May 3, 2014. He was designated for assignment three days later.[26] He was assigned to Columbus on May 11, and re-added to the Cleveland roster on May 27. Kottaras was the only player to hit two home runs in his first two plate appearances as a Cleveland Indian. On July 7, he was designated for assignment following the acquisition of Chris Dickerson.[27]

St. Louis Cardinals

Kottaras was claimed by the St. Louis Cardinals on July 11, 2014.[28] On July 26, Kottaras was designated for assignment.[29] He was released on July 29.

Toronto Blue Jays

On August 6, 2014, Kottaras signed a minor league contract with the Toronto Blue Jays.[30] He was activated by the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons on August 10. He was called up to the Blue Jays on September 1, when the rosters expanded.[31] Kottaras made his debut for the Blue Jays on September 17, grounding out in his only at-bat against the Baltimore Orioles. He made his first start for Toronto on September 25, catching Daniel Norris in his first MLB start. Kottaras went 0-4 as a member of the Blue Jays, and finished the season with a .233 average, 3 home runs, and 5 RBI.[32] He was sent outright to the Buffalo Bisons on October 3, but elected to become a free agent rather than accepting the assignment.[33]

Chicago White Sox

On December 18, 2014, Kottaras signed a minor league contract with the Chicago White Sox that included an invitation to spring training.[34] He was released on August 3, 2015.[35]

Return to Toronto

On August 5, 2015, Kottaras signed a minor league contract with the Toronto Blue Jays.[36] He elected free agency on November 7.[37]

San Francisco Giants

On January 21, 2016, Kottaras signed a minor league contract with the San Francisco Giants.[38] He was released on July 14 after hitting .155 with the Triple-A Sacramento River Cats.[39]

Atlanta Braves

On July 16, 2016, Kottaras signed a minor league contract with the Atlanta Braves.[40] He was released on August 19.[41][42]

2004 Olympics

In 2004, Kottaras played for Greece's national baseball team during the 2004 Summer Olympics. His eligibility came from his parents, both of whom are Greek immigrants to Canada. During the Olympics, Kottaras served as first baseman and backup catcher.[43]

On July 21, 2004, Kottaras had three hits helping Greece come from behind to defeat Italy 11-7 for the team's first and only win in the tournament.[44]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b Kaegel, Dick Moustakas, Kottaras proud of Greek heritage MLB.com, April 11, 2013. Accessed April 28, 2013.
  2. ^ Hayakawa, Michael (October 14, 2011). "Kottaras digs deep for Brewers". Newmarket Era. yorkregion.com. Retrieved 2014.
  3. ^ "George Kottaras". The Baseball Cube. Retrieved 2008.
  4. ^ "# 48 - George Kottaras". Minor League News. Archived from the original on October 16, 2006. Retrieved 2008.
  5. ^ "Red Sox acquire catcher to complete Wells trade". ESPN. September 5, 2006. Retrieved 2008.
  6. ^ "#26 George Kottaras". Soxprospects.com. Archived from the original on January 28, 2010. Retrieved 2008.
  7. ^ "Kottaras at home with Sea Dogs". milb.com. September 8, 2006. Retrieved 2010.
  8. ^ Hayakawa, Mike (August 21, 2008). "Baseball in Kottaras' blood". The Markham Economist and Sun. Retrieved 2014.
  9. ^ Buckley, Steve (September 9, 2008). "Club calls up catcher George Kottaras for 1st big league stint". Boston Herald. Archived from the original on October 14, 2008. Retrieved 2014.
  10. ^ "Red Sox recall C George Kottaras and 1B-OFChris Carter from Pawtucket". Boston Red Sox. MLB. September 8, 2008. Retrieved 2008.
  11. ^ Hayakawa, Mike (September 18, 2008). "Markham ball player joins big league team". Markham Economist and Sun. Retrieved 2014.
  12. ^ "Wakefield set to pitch tomorrow - Extra Bases". Boston.com. September 4, 2009. Retrieved 2011.
  13. ^ a b "George Kottaras Statistics and History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved 2011.
  14. ^ Speier, Alex. Kottaras released, Cabrera elects free agency, WEEI. Published November 18, 2009. Retrieved November 18, 2009.
  15. ^ Witrado, Anthony. Cain and Rivas added to 40-man roster; Kottaras claimed, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Published November 18, 2009. Retrieved November 18, 2009.
  16. ^ Rosiak, Todd (December 12, 2011). "Brewers, Kottaras agree on one-year deal". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
  17. ^ a b "George Kottaras shipped to A's". ESPN.com. Associated Press. July 29, 2012. Retrieved 2014.
  18. ^ Cotton, Gary (January 14, 2013). "A's, Kottaras avoid arbitration with one-year deal". MLB.com. Retrieved 2014.
  19. ^ Spratt, Gerry; Shea, John (January 16, 2013). "A's acquire catcher John Jaso in 3-way trade". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2014.
  20. ^ "C George Kottaras Claimed off Waivers by Kansas City". MLB.com. January 25, 2013. Retrieved 2013.
  21. ^ Muskat, Carrie (November 26, 2013). "Cubs acquire catcher Kottaras from Royals". MLB.com. Retrieved 2014.
  22. ^ Rogers, Jesse (November 26, 2013). "Cubs acquire C George Kottaras". ESPN.com. Retrieved 2013.
  23. ^ Gonzales, Mark (December 2, 2013). "Cubs, Kottaras agree on 1-year contract". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2014.
  24. ^ "George Kottaras put on unconditional release waivers by Cubs". CBC.ca. Fox Sports Canada. March 26, 2014. Archived from the original on July 14, 2014. Retrieved 2014.
  25. ^ Baer, Bill (March 30, 2014). "Indians sign George Kottaras to a minor league deal". hardballtalk.nbcsports.com. Retrieved 2014.
  26. ^ Meisel, Zack (May 6, 2014). "George Kottaras designated for assignment, Michael Bourn nearing return: Terry Francona quick hits". Retrieved 2014.
  27. ^ "Indians acquire OF Dickerson from Pirates". ESPN.com. Associated Press. July 7, 2014. Retrieved 2014.
  28. ^ "Cardinals claim C Kottaras after Molina injury". ESPN.com. Associated Press. July 11, 2014. Retrieved 2014.
  29. ^ "Cardinals sign veteran catcher A.J. Pierzynski". ESPN.com. Associated Press. July 26, 2014. Retrieved 2014.
  30. ^ Elliott, Bob (August 6, 2014). "Blue Jays ink Markham native George Kottaras". torontosun.com. Retrieved 2014.
  31. ^ Davidi, Shi (September 1, 2014). "Pompey, Norris among 9 called up by Blue Jays". Sportsnet. Retrieved 2014.
  32. ^ "George Kottaras Statistics & History". Baseball-Reference. Retrieved 2014.
  33. ^ Dakers, Tom (October 3, 2014). "Blue Jays Outright George Kottaras". bluebirdbanter.com. Retrieved 2014.
  34. ^ Gleeman, Aaron (December 18, 2014). "White Sox sign George Kottaras". hardballtalk.nbcsports.com. Retrieved 2014.
  35. ^ "International League Transactions". milb.com. p. August 2015. Retrieved 2015.
  36. ^ "Blue Jays sign catcher George Kottaras". milb.com. August 5, 2015. Retrieved 2015.
  37. ^ "International League Transactions". milb.com. p. November 2015. Retrieved 2015.
  38. ^ "Jon Heyman on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 2016.
  39. ^ "George Kottaras: Released by Giants on Thursday". July 14, 2016. Retrieved 2016.
  40. ^ "Braves' George Kottaras: Signs minor league deal with Atlanta". July 16, 2016. Retrieved 2016.
  41. ^ Todd, Jeff (August 29, 2016). "Minor MLB Transactions: 8/29/16". MLB Trade Rumors. Retrieved 2016.
  42. ^ "International League Transactions August 2016". Retrieved 2016.
  43. ^ Evan Mohl (June 1, 2007). "Kottaras finds place to hang mask". MLB.com. Retrieved 2008.
  44. ^ "Greek team gets first-ever victory". ESPN. August 21, 2004. Retrieved 2008.

External links

Achievements
Preceded by
Carlos González
Hitting for the cycle
September 3, 2011
Succeeded by
Pablo Sandoval

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