Athletics, George Kottaras avoid arbitration with one-year deal

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The Athletics announced late this afternoon that they have avoided arbitration with catcher George Kottaras by agreeing to a one-year contract. Terms aren’t yet available.

Kottaras was arbitration-eligible for the second time this winter. The 29-year-old earned $700,000 last season while hitting .211/.351/.415 with nine home runs, 31 RBI and a .766 OPS over 85 games between the Brewers and Athletics. He threw out 19 percent (5-for-26) of attempted basestealers.

Derek Norris figures to get most of the playing time behind the plate in 2013, so Kottaras will function as his backup. However, his power and patience is pretty useful to have around.

Steven Matz homers in back-to-back starts

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Mets starter Steven Matz helped his own cause again, belting a solo home run in the top of the third inning of Tuesday’s game against the Phillies. Matz turned on a 1-1 breaking ball from Cy Young contender Aaron Nola, breaking a scoreless tie.

Matz also homered in his previous start against the Marlins last Thursday. According to MLB Stat of the Day, he is the third Mets pitcher to homer in back-to-back starts, joining Tom Seaver (1972) and Ron Darling (1989).

Matz is the fourth full-time pitcher to hit multiple home runs this season, joining the Reds’ Michael Lorenzen (four), and the Cardinals’ John Gant and Miles Mikolas (two each). The last Mets pitcher to hit multiple home runs in a season was Noah Syndergaard, who hit three in 2016.

Along with the bat, Matz has also been dealing on the mound. As of this writing, he has held the Phillies scoreless over five innings despite walking five batters and allowing two hits.