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Kottaras has big day, avoids roster move

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CLEVELAND -- Catcher George Kottaras swung his way into the Indians' record book on Sunday, and survived a roster decision on Monday.

Cleveland purchased Kottaras' contract from Triple-A Columbus on Saturday, when starting catcher Yan Gomes was placed on Major League Baseball's paternity list. Gomes returned on Monday, but the Indians cleared a spot on the roster by placing designated hitter Jason Giambi (right calf strain) on the 15-day disabled list.

When the Indians promote right-hander Josh Tomlin from Triple-A Columbus on Tuesday to start against the Twins, the team will once again need to weigh whether to keep Kottaras on the roster. Kottaras would need to be designated for assignment due to being out of Minor League options.

"We'd love to keep him," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "We're going to have to walk through it probably daily for a while to see what fits and how we make it fit. We can only have 25. We'll see. I think George is aware that we'd like to keep him here. He's also a smart kid. He knows that you have to do what you have to do."

During Sunday's 4-3 loss to the White Sox, the 30-year-old Kottaras became the first player in Indians history to launch a home run in each of his first two career plate appearances with the team. Kottaras finished 2-for-3 on the day after going just 2-for-25 with 11 strikeouts in his stint at Triple-A.

Kottaras has hit only .216 in parts of seven seasons in the Majors, but he gives Cleveland a true backup catcher, and also briefly played for Francona in Boston (2008-09). As things currently stand, the Tribe's backup catcher, Carlos Santana, is serving as the club's regular third baseman.

The Indians signed Kottaras to a Minor League contract on March 31 -- five days after he was released by the Cubs.

"I love George. He's hard not to like," Francona said. "There's reasons why guys like that find their way back to the big leagues when they get sent down, for whatever reasons. When you have players that you had before, and you go seeking them out when they're available, that normally means they did some things as a teammate that you really respect."

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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