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Sox designate Kotsay, who was surprised by the move

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff  July 24, 2009 02:41 PM

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With the Red Sox needing to clear a spot on the 25-man roster for newly acquired Adam LaRoche, Mark Kotsay is the odd man out.

The Red Sox have designated the veteran outfielder/first baseman for assignment this afternoon. The club now has 10 days to either trade or release him.

"When we got Adam, [the roster] got a little redundant," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said of the club’s decision to part with Kotsay, who did not immediately return a call from the Globe. "It doesn’t make it a fun decision or a fun message. This is a guy who came in last year and immediately became a leader in our clubhouse."

Kotsay knew that the Red Sox needed offensive help. He just didn’t think he would be the man sacrificed to get it.

"I would say no,’’ Kotsay said by phone when asked if he foresaw being the odd man out after the club acquired LaRoche. "Obviously, through the process of evaluating the club and understanding that offensively we weren’t getting the job done, their making a move for a bat didn’t surprise me. Getting caught up in the situation was more unexpected, I think.’’

Kotsay, 33, has played 27 games this season, with one home run and five RBIs. He began the season on the disabled list while recovering from offseason back surgery, and he has also battled recurring calf problems. He batted .257 with a .297 on-base percentage since being added to the active roster June 2.

The 13-year veteran, a good defender and popular clubhouse presence, was acquired by the Red Sox from the Braves last August 2.

He batted .226 for the Sox with no homers and 12 RBIs in 22 games and 87 at-bats last season for the Sox.

He saw significant playing time in the postseason after third baseman Mike Lowell was injured, and he batted .250 with three doubles and two runs scored in 10 playoff games while playing outstanding defense at first base.

Kotsay said he left Fenway Park yesterday after receiving the news from the club to return home to his wife and three children in their Boston-area apartment. The Kotsays were packing, said the player, and were planning to return to their San Diego-area home immediately before determining their next step.

"I’d like to keep playing [elsewhere] if the right opportunity presents itself. I think through the time I was with the club, I don’t think my name was written in the lineup just [for the sake of it]. I think I have something left. I think if you asked Tito that he’d agree."

With Kotsay gone, Nick Green will serve as the club’s fifth outfielder, behind Rocco Baldelli.

The Globe's Tony Massarotti contributed to this report. Last updated at 6:30 p.m., clarifying the move. Kotsay was designated for assignment, not waived.

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