JUPITER — Casey Kotchman might know more major-league players on a first-name basis than just about anyone in the game. That’s because the first baseman has played for six teams over the past five years.
If he wins a job on the Marlins, make that seven teams in six years.
“I’ve been privileged to have an opportunity to put on different uniforms and meet a bunch of different players that I wouldn’t have met had I stayed in one place,” Kotchman said.
The Marlins on Friday signed Kotchman to a minor-league contract as insurance for Logan Morrison, who is returning from knee surgery and might not be ready by Opening Day.
“Typically, if you draw it up in your mind, you want to stay in one place,” said Kotchman, who has also played for the Angels, Braves, Rays, Indians, Red Sox and Mariners, just since 2008. “But looking back on it, you have a chance to meet a bunch of new players and teammates and build relationships with everybody.”
Manager Mike Redmond lauds the move because it gives him a “proven major-league first baseman.”
“He’s going to have to earn it, but it’s nice to have him in camp,” Redmond said. “He’s got a great glove, and he can hit, too.
“Obviously, he’s had a couple of rough years in there, but that’s over with. But we know he can play defense.”
A total of 155 Marlins games will be televised this season, including 150 on Fox Sports Florida.
The Marlins are also scheduled to appear three times on Fox’s Saturday Game of the Week: May 25 against the White Sox, July 13 against the Nationals and Aug. 11 against the Giants.
In addition, two games against Tampa — on May 27 and 28 — will be televised on the Rays’ broadcast on Sun Sports.
Taking it easy
Redmond said the Marlins are “trying to ease into it a little bit” because of an extra week of spring training created by the World Baseball Classic.
As a result, the Marlins aren’t planning to have pitchers throw batting practice to hitters until Monday.
In most years, that usually takes place on the first day of full-squad workouts, and the pitchers are at an advantage because the hitters haven’t found their timing.
The result is often a lot of broken bats and stinging hands.
“I don’t know of any position player who likes coming right out of the chute the first day and facing live pitching,” Redmond said.
“The luxury that we have of having a little bit extra time is that we can kind of get those guys a few days of batting practice in, get them a little comfortable. I think the position players are excited about that. It’ll save them some wood and save their fingers a little bit.”