It couldn't have started better for Kevin Kouzmanoff. He hit the first pitch he saw in the major leagues for a grand slam. The rarity on his resume — only one other player has done it on his first pitch — means nothing in Kouzmanoff's bid to earn a spot on the Miami Marlins' bench. He can point to 84 additional home runs in the 671 big-league games that followed his eye-opening 2006 debut with Cleveland. But after spending last season buried in the Kansas City Royals' minor league system, Kouzmanoff is part of a crowd with up-and-down pasts attempting to catch manager Mike Redmond's eye for several jobs that remain up for grabs less than three weeks before Opening Day. "I'm just trying to take advantage of the opportunity that I have here. They have a plan, and I don't know those plans," Kouzmanoff said Tuesday. The plan is still being written. "We're looking for somebody to step up and make that decision easy for us," Redmond said of the scramble for bench roles prior to Tuesday's 9-4 exhibition loss to the Astros. "But nobody really has." Kouzmanoff, a non-roster invitee to spring training, has done more than most, showing right-handed power that could be a welcome commodity on a club with little of it to complement Giancarlo Stanton. He hit his third home run Tuesday, a two-run shot well over 400 feet to center field at Roger Dean Stadium, and a double. He homered in back-to-back at-bats earlier in the spring, and is hitting .400 with eight RBI in 12 games. "He's done a nice job. You look at the quality at-bats. Every time he's gotten in there he's contributed," Redmond said.
Kouzmanoff offers power in quest for Marlins bench role
Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel | Mar 13