Kotsay may be Boston-bound
Healthy outfielder was scratched from Tuesday's lineup
ATLANTA -- Given that he has spent this entire month wondering where he'll be playing when September arrives, Mark Kotsay didn't mind learning he'll have to wait a few more hours and possibly days before learning his fate.
When Kotsay was scratched from Tuesday night's lineup against the Marlins without any medical reason provided, it was obvious that the Braves were negotiating a trade that would send him elsewhere, and there is heavy belief the interested team is the Red Sox.
Then, after Kotsay contributed to Tuesday night's 10-9 win, Braves manager Bobby Cox confirmed the trade talks without specifying the interested team.
"They've been talking all day, and they're still talking," said Cox, who ended up inserting Kotsay as a pinch-hitter during Tuesday night's four-run, ninth-inning rally.
With J.D. Drew out since Aug. 17 with a bad back, the Red Sox have been in search of a veteran outfielder, and multiple sources had previously confirmed the defending World Series champs have shown interest in Kotsay.
When told early Tuesday evening that the Red Sox were close to putting Drew on the 15-day disabled list, Kotsay responded by saying he wouldn't be surprised if a trade was completed within the next couple of hours.
Thus, he wasn't surprised when Cox called him into his office a short time later and told him he was being removed from the lineup.
"I'd have to say this was my weirdest night in the big leagues," Kotsay said. "They are just in discussions. We'll just wait until they tell me something."
The Braves and the unspecified team are still trying to work out an agreement. Kotsay said they haven't reached a point where he's had to talk to his agent about his limited no-trade clause.
At the same time, he's privately given indication that he'd welcome the opportunity to join the Red Sox, who are fighting to earn a postseason spot as the American League East champs or as the Wild Card entrant.
"As a player, you want to win and have a chance to compete in the postseason," Kotsay said. "If I'm traded to a club that is in postseason position, that will be great. Although, I've had fun here. It's been great to play for Bobby [Cox] and be in this clubhouse."
After being acquired in a January trade with the A's, Kotsay provided the veteran presence the Braves envisioned. In 87 games this year, the 32-year-old outfielder hit .289 with six homers and 37 RBIs.
When the Braves acquired Kotsay, he was considered a health risk. After having back surgery in March of last year, he was limited to a career-low 56 games, and played in just eight August games before ending his season.
Kotsay's back proved problematic again in late May of this year. He missed 33 games from May 26-July 1 with a lower back strain. Since ending that lengthy stint on the disabled list, he's appeared in 41 of the 48 games the Braves have played. During that span, he's hit .284 with two homers and 16 RBIs.
While Kotsay's time in Atlanta will likely prove to be short, his name will long be a part of Braves history. With his five-hit performance against the Cubs on Aug. 14, he became just the second player in franchise history to hit for the cycle.
All along, Kotsay proved to be the hard-nosed leader the Braves had touted when they acquired him. After drawing an intentional walk on Tuesday, he slid hard into second base and may have prevented Hanley Ramirez from turning a game-ending double play.
"That's playing the game," Kotsay said. "Anytime you put me in the game, I'm going to go hard."
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.