October 3, 2003
Bad luck found Angels prospect Casey Kotchman again during his first workout in the Arizona Fall League.
Kotchman, a first baseman who ranks as the Angels’ No. 1 prospect, has missed the first week of AFL action after taking a ground ball to the mouth in his first workout with the Scottsdale Scorpions. Though the injury required stitches, it’s not expected to keep him out of action for more than this first week of games.
“He took a grounder that hopped up and hit him in the mouth–it kind of shredded his lip and chipped a few teeth,” Angels farm director Tony Reagins said. “He might be back Monday but it could be Tuesday. “It is not the kind of injury that limits his playing ability. When we heard the news, it was definitely the kindof (reaction) where you go, ‘Here we go again.’ ” That’s because Kotchman has been hit with one malady after another since being drafted 13th overall in the 2001 draft.
In fact, the injury issue for Kotchman started at Seminole (Fla.) High; he missed his junior season in high school with a stress fracture in his back. Wrist injuries cut short each of his first two pro seasons, and a torn hamstring limited him to 206 at-bats in 2003. Topping it off, Kotchman was knocked out of the California League playoffs after being struck on the hand with a pitch. Through it all, Kotchman has hit, with a .326 average in 558 minor league at-bats. “We’re pleased with him on and off the field,” Reagins said. Just the way he goes about his business, he’s a professional. Now the key is to just keep him on the field.”