Kotchman focused on what he can control

Kotchman focused on what he can control

CLEVELAND -- First baseman Casey Kotchman is focusing on the fact that it is a long season. There's really nothing else he can do right now in light of the persistent slump that has dogged him out of the gates this season.

"You can't really control results," Kotchman said. "You control the effort you're putting in with your preparation, and you accept the stuff that comes from it. Stuff will turn around over 162 games."

Cleveland can only hope.

Entering Thursday's game, when Kotchman was out of the starting lineup against the Royals, he was hitting .140 through 14 games.

The Indians signed Kotchman to a one-year contract worth $3 million over the winter to provide strong defense and to add a little offensive consistency from first base.

So far only the glove has lived up to expectations.

"It's only been a few weeks," manager Manny Acta said. "We have a lot of guys in the lineup that we know [are] better than [how they're hitting]. And there are some guys in the lineup that we know, at the end of the day, they're not going to be hitting .350, either.

"[Kotchman] had a good series over there in Kansas City. We just have to continue to play those guys and continue to work. He had a very good season last year, so he'll come out of it."

Kotchman, who hit .306 last season for Tampa Bay, went 5-for-11 with two home runs and three RBIs in a three-game road series against Kansas City from April 13-15. Since then he has been mired in a 1-for-25 funk, and he entered the series finale in Cleveland in an 0-for-22 dry spell that included 11 groundouts (two double plays), six strikeouts and five flyouts.

"Obviously, this isn't how you want to start the year," Kotchman said. "But all you can do is keep seeing pitches, try to put some good swings on the ball, and stuff will start falling in there for you. They're not trying to make it easy for you. Those pitchers are in the big leagues for a reason, too.

"You just keep going. That's all you can do. That's the good thing about this sport. You play so many games that over the course of a year, stuff has a way of working out."