OAKLAND -- The Indians knew they were getting a good glove man when they signed first baseman Casey Kotchman over the offseason. A little more than two weeks into the regular season, Kotchman has come precisely as advertised.
"He's a magician when it comes to picking balls out of the dirt," Indians infielder Jason Donald said.
Kotchman's skills around the bag were certainly apparent in Thursday's 2-1 victory over the Mariners in Seattle. In the fourth inning, the first baseman made a pair of highlight-reel plays -- a catch of a line drive and an impressive scoop of a throw from Donald -- with a runner on third base to bring an emphatic halt to a potential Seattle rally.
Donald, who was manning shortstop Thursday, glided up the middle and gloved a sharp grounder off the bat of Kyle Seager for the inning's final out. On the play, Donald spun and threw to first base, where Kotchman stretched and fell to the ground, keeping the front of his foot on the base to retire Seager just in time.
"Very few guys in the league are probably able to make that play," manager Manny Acta said. "To stretch and keep the foot on the bag, he has saved a few runs for us already in two weeks. Even when we struggled at home, he did save some runs for us. It doesn't go unnoticed. He's very good at what he does over there."
Donald said Kotchman does wonders for the rest of the infielders.
"He's been huge. Huge," Donald said. "Good first basemen save so many innings. They save so many plays. He really gives you the freedom to feel like you can throw a ball anywhere. If you miss a little bit, you have a good feeling that he's going to make the play for you. There's a little bit more margin for error."