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Kouzmanoff Carving Out Role

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Kevin Kozmanoff has seemingly seen his best days in baseball pass him by, but he's doing all he can this spring to earn a spot on the Texas Rangers' roster and things are falling to place pretty nicely for him.

    He hasn't played a full season since 2010 when he was with the Oakland A's, and hasn't played a big-league game since 2011 when he split the year between Oakland and Colorado and didn't even play half the season.

    But he's just 32 years old, he's proven in the past he can hit for power and most importantly, he might fill some needs on the Rangers' roster heading into the 2014 season.

    In 45 plate appearances for the Rangers this spring, Kouzmanoff is making the Rnagers' minor-league deal with him look like a potential steal as he's hitting .385 with three doubles, a homer and eight RBIs. Defensively, he's pretty much exclusively a third baseman, but could play first as well. Adrian Beltre's troublesome quad, and Mitch Moreland's oblique have opened up the need for depth at both corner infield spots and Kouzmanoff might have himself a big-league job again.

    “Kevin Kouzmanoff has shown me exactly what I thought Kevin Kouzmanoff could show me,” Rangers manager Ron Washington told reporters earlier this week. “He’s a baseball player.

    “He can play third base. He can play first base. He can hit left-handers. He’ll get you big hits and he knows how to play. So I’m not surprised by anything he’s doing. We cut some infielders this morning. He wasn’t one of them.”

    Kouzmanoff said he's comfortable doing anything needed by the Rangers, which is what he should be saying if he wants to be on a big-league roster again.

    “I’d be comfortable in any role,” Kouzmanoff told the Star-Telegram Monday. “But first you’ve got to see what happens. I understand that. Adrian Beltre is the guy at third base, and he’s a stud — one of the best baseball players I’ve ever seen play with my own eyes.”