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February 16-17, 2008 – Kevin Kotch Talks February 16, 2008

Posted by atlanticleaguenews in Uncategorized.
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(A large portion of this will appear in the Democrat on 2/21)

Kevin Kotch, Catcher: It had all the makings of one of the best stories of the Atlantic League off-season.

Kevin Kotch, who grew up a five minute ride away from Commerce Bank Ballpark, had been released by the Orioles in June of 2007 and needed a job for the 2008 season.

The logical choice would have been for him to join the team he’d followed since middle school, and for him to play in the stadium where he’d seen the Atlantic League for the first time.

Instead, Kotch becomes the local guy who leaves home, signing with the York Revolution.

In a phone conversation with the Central New Jersey native yesterday, Kotch told me that he contacted Patriots officials via e-mail to try to gauge their interest in his services for the following season.

He never heard back.

Luckily for Kotch, he was on the Atlantic League radar last season, having worked out with the Camden Riversharks. He got in touch with Adam Gladstone this off-season, and Gladstone offered Kotch the opportunity to compete for a spot in spring training.

“It would have been nice to play for Somerset, but I certainly don’t hold a grudge or anything like that,” Kotch said.

“I’m just looking forward to getting an opportunity with York this season.”

Kotch, who has worked out with fellow Atlantic Leaguer Matt Sweeney this off-season as well as big leaguers Val Majewski and Jim Hoey, has several friends with Atlantic League — and more specifically — Patriots ties; Casey Cahill and Tony Gsell. Both starred at Immaculata High School, not far away from Middlesex High School, where Kotch attended.

In fact, it was back in high school where Kotch first set foot on the field at Commerce Bank Ballpark, doing some pro workouts there. He looks forward to actually getting to play there, albeit in Revolution colors.

“I’m looking forward to getting to play in front of some hometown people,” Kotch said.

Kotch was a member of the Orioles farm system from 2004 and 2006, and did not advance past short season A-ball, playing with the Aberdeen Ironbirds of the New York-Penn League in his final year.

He told me that he does have some concerns about the jump in the level of competition, and not having seen game action in a year, but that he’s been working hard this off-season and has been taking BP every other day to stay sharp.

Brought in to be the backup or third catcher, Kotch pointed to his size behind the plate as an asset, saying his six foot four, 235 pound frame provides a big target for his pitchers.

Kotch looks forward to handling a pitching staff, and says he hopes to provide some power to the Revolution lineup.

Realistically, with his numbers and level of experience, Kotch faces an uphill battle just to make the Revolution out of camp this spring. It will be just one of many stories to keep an eye on as April gets closer. – Mike Ashmore

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