Kotchman's average is on the rise

Kotchman's average is on the rise

BOSTON -- Indians manager Manny Acta has insisted all along that the hits would eventually start falling for struggling first baseman Casey Kotchman. Slowly but surely, Kotchman's offensive showing appears to be on the upswing for Cleveland.

"That was coming," Acta said. "He's been working hard and minimizing the body movement at the plate. It seems like in the last couple of series he's been staying behind the ball better."

Entering Thursday's game against the Red Sox, Kotchman was hitting .381 (8-for-21) with three multihit games in his past seven contests. In his previous 18 games, he hit at a .143 (10-for-70) clip with just one multihit game along the way.

Kotchman had hit .294 with a .368 on-base percentage in his past 11 games.

Overall, Kotchman was hitting .198 through 25 games heading into Thursday's action. It has been a sub-par start for the first baseman, who hit .306 in 146 games for the Rays last season and signed a one-year contract worth $3 million with Cleveland over the winter.

"We're expecting him to come around," Acta said. "This guy is a lifetime [.265] hitter, and he had a very good season last year. It's still early. I know he's got himself in a pretty deep hole, but he's going to get better. He's been around. He's going to keep playing and I'm sure he's going to do some good things for us."