Kevin Kouzmanoff thought “where do I fit?” while A’s pursued other third basemen

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Last offseason the A’s acquired Kevin Kouzmanoff from the Padres in the hopes he’d be their long-term answer at third base, but after a career-worst season that saw him hit just .247 with a measly .679 OPS the team claimed Edwin Encarnacion off waivers and made a big offer to free agent Adrian Beltre.

Oakland eventually non-tendered Encarnacion and Beltre signed an $80 million deal with the Rangers, but the team’s pursuit of other third basemen left Kouzmanoff with a bruised ego and questions about his future with the A’s.

Here’s some of what Kouzmanoff told Jane Lee of MLB.com about the situation:

I knew the A’s had some money to spend. Beltre’s a good ballplayer, and he was in high demand. There I am kind of sitting off to the side thinking, “Where do I fit? Obviously, the A’s don’t really like me that much at third base if they’re trying to get another third baseman.” But at the same time, I’m also realizing it’s just business, and if they can lock someone down for a certain number of years, an All-Star third baseman who can hit 25 to 30 home runs in the Coliseum, then I really have no say in it.

I think if they were happy with me at third base, they wouldn’t consider going out and getting someone else. I knew for sure that if they were going to get Beltre that I was gone. I’m still here, though, and I want to do the best I can. I’ve worked hard this offseason. I’m hitting baseballs, trying to get faster, getting in good shape. I want to prove to them that I can play third base just as good as anybody else. I feel great.

All things considered Kouzmanoff has handled the situation pretty well, and made it clear to Lee that he was as disappointed as anyone with his performance last season. Oakland may have missed out on Beltre and decided against keeping Encarnacion, but if Kouzmanoff doesn’t bounce back significantly this season they’ll likely cut him loose next winter regardless of the other options at third base. He’s due for a raise to $4-5 million via arbitration this year and would be even more expensive in 2012.

Phillies’ ace Nola loses no-hitter in seventh, wins game 8-3 over Tigers

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
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PHILADELPHIA – Aaron Nola took a no-hitter into the seventh inning and struck out 12, Trea Turner homered twice among his four hits to lead the Philadelphia Phillies to their third straight win, 8-3 over the Detroit Tigers on Monday night.

Nola (5-4) fanned 10 and had faced the minimum through six as he tried to pitch the Phillies’ first no-hitter since 2015. The ace right-hander ran into trouble in the seventh when two batters reached on a walk and a fielding error. Nola still had two outs when he hung an 0-2 breaking ball to Nick Maton and the former Phillie crushed one into right to make it a 5-3 game.

Maton’s bat-flip homer was the only hit allowed by Nola. He walked three over seven innings.

Seranthony Domínguez and Andrew Vasquez each tossed a scoreless inning out of the bullpen.

Nola walked Jake Marisnick with two outs in the third inning but the outfielder was out at first base on a caught stealing by catcher J.T. Realmuto. Nola walked Maton with one out in the fifth but the baserunner was erased after Eric Haase hit into an inning-ending double play.

Nola threw 68 of 108 pitches for strikes in front of 33,196 fans. Nola, who recorded two strikeouts on automatic strike three calls, has now pitched at least six innings in each of hit last 10 starts.

He improved to 83-66 in a career spent all with the Phillies since his debut in 2015. The right-handed ace is a free agent at the end of the season. Nola and the Phillies tabled contract talks in spring training, with no plans to resume until the offseason.

Nola’s no-no stalled, too.

There have been no no-hitters in the majors this season, the first since Major League Baseball introduced a pitch clock. There were a record nine in 2021 and four last year.

The Phillies returned home from a 4-6 road trip in search of some last season’s June success that squashed a miserable start and led them to the NL championship. So far, so good. The Phillies won the last two games in Washington and kept the wins coming at home. They scored one run in each of the first three innings on Turner’s RBI single, Nick Castellanos’ run-scoring double, and Turner’s solo shot in the third.

Bryce Harper added an RBI single in the fifth. Turner connected the same inning off Tigers starter Joey Wentz (1-6) for his seventh homer of the season and first multi-homer game with the Phillies.

Turner has slumped in the first season of an 11-year, $300 million deal. He hit just .143 on the road trip but now has three homers in his last two home games.

VETERAN MOVE

Tigers DH Miguel Cabrera, who has said he will retire at the end of the season, is the last active player who played at Veterans Stadium. The Phillies last played in their now-razed former stadium in 2003. He played six games at the Vet in 2003 with the Florida Marlins. The Phillies will honor Cabrera before Wednesday’s game.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Phillies: LHP José Alvarado (left elbow inflammation) is set to make a rehab appearance in Double-A Reading. … CF Cristian Pache (right meniscus tear) is “swinging and missing quite a bit,” according to manager Rob Thomson, in his minor league rehab games.

UP NEXT

The Phillies send RHP Taijuan Walker (4-3, 5.65 ERA) to the mound. The Tigers did not name a starter.