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Kotchman becomes latest injured Miami first baseman

The SportsXchange

The Miami Marlins added more depth at first base by signing journeyman Casey Kotchman to a minor league deal, but they still don't know who will play the position on Opening Day.

Logan Morrison is the team's first choice, but his availability for the start of the season remains in doubt as he continues to recover from September surgery to his right knee. Morrison was scheduled to see a doctor on Feb. 19 with the hope that he would be cleared to start running.

Kotchman is known for a solid glove, a trait long coveted by a Marlins organization that hasn't had a steady defensive first baseman since Derek Lee from 2000-03.

However, the Marlins won't get to Kotchman in action for at least a week because he injured his left ring finger in a freak accident on his second day of workouts.

Kotchman ran into a pitching machine while chasing an infield popup, cutting his finger and requiring four stitches.

Other candidates include Austin Kearns, Greg Dobbs and Joe Mahoney, but Kotchman seems the most ideal fit if he can get healthy and improve his offense.

Kotchman, who turns 30 on Feb. 22, was a first-round draft pick (13th overall) by the Angels in 2001. Although he has had some solid offensive years, he still has not blossomed into a consistent hitter.

He batted .306 in 2011 for the Tampa Bay Rays but slumped in 2012, batting .229 with 12 home runs and 55 RBI in 142 games for the Cleveland Indians.

"Obviously, he's had a couple of rough years in there, but that's over with," Miami manager Mike Redmond said. "We know he can play defense."
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