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A's welcome Kottaras, send down Norris

A's welcome Kottaras, send down Norris

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A's welcome Kottaras, send down Norris
OAKLAND -- After the A's announced on Sunday that they acquired catcher George Kottaras from the Brewers, the team welcomed its new catcher to the Coliseum before Monday's series opener against the Rays.

To clear a spot for Kottaras on the roster, Oakland optioned rookie backstop Derek Norris to Triple-A Sacramento, ending speculation that veteran Kurt Suzuki, having a rough year offensively, could be traded.

Kottaras said he "kind of felt" Milwaukee would be making a move with him one way or the other given the way things were going. He received just 86 at-bats with the Brewers before they designated him for assignment on Thursday, leading to the trade.

As for the 29-year-old's playing time, the plan is to platoon the left-handed-hitting Kottaras with Suzuki, who bats right-handed. The A's now have a platoon situation at four different positions, the others being first base, shortstop and the designated hitter slot.

Kottaras goes from a backup role with a struggling team to regular playing time with a contender. Not a bad change, and he said he was "excited" about joining Oakland.

"Great attitude in here," Kottaras said. "You see guys having fun, but also getting their work in, which is the way it should be. [I'm] just trying not to step on anybody's toes. [I] just want to get to know everybody better."

Though A's manager Bob Melvin said he liked Kottaras' ability to get on base -- despite owning a .209 batting average, the catcher's on-base percentage is .409 -- he agreed with Kottaras in saying that the biggest immediate challenge would be for him to get to know the pitching staff, something Melvin himself had to deal with during his career as a Major League backstop.

To that end, Kottaras planned on playing catch with the pitchers to get to know their stuff, and was going to sit next to the coaches on the bench during Monday's game to try to absorb everything.

As for Norris, Melvin said the team wanted the rookie to get more regular playing time, which wouldn't happen with Suzuki also in Oakland.

Considering Norris was batting .195 overall after starting out with a .333 average in his first eight games, it wasn't necessarily a difficult choice to make. But Melvin reiterated that he's still a big part of the team's future.

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