Kotsay finds way to flourish in pinch situations

Kotsay finds way to flourish in pinch situations

SAN DIEGO -- Mark Kotsay was going on and on late Tuesday night about all the preparation that goes into preparing to pinch-hit in a game -- getting your mind prepared, getting loose, riding a bike and taking a few cuts in the cage before returning to the dugout to await an at-bat that might never come.

But after detailing the lengthy process and the nuances involved in preparing to pinch-hit -- like he did Tuesday before blasting a two-run home run in the eighth inning of a 2-0 victory over the Brewers -- Kotsay sat back in his chair and smiled.

"It's all a guessing game," he said, smiling.

It's a guessing game in which Kotsay has become quite proficient. That hit Tuesday raised his career average as a pinch-hitter to .310 (44-for-142). Kotsay ranks fifth among active players in pinch-hits with 100 or more plate appearances.

Last season, Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke called Kotsay "the best pinch-hitter he has ever seen." San Diego manager Bud Black has plenty of praise and admiration for Kotsay's ability to pinch-hit with this kind of success.

"I think .250 is a good barometer for a pinch-hitter," Black said. "It's arguably the most difficult role on the club to succeed in, because of all the variables. It shows the type of player he is mentally that he is able to go up in a small window of time and produce."