Kottaras at home with Sea Dogs

Aeros' Crowe comfortable back in the outfield

(Stewart Smith Photography)

September 15, 2006 4:49 PM

PORTLAND, Maine -- George Kottaras became part of Portland's playoff run at the last minute, not joining the team until a mere 90 minutes before the Sea Dogs' opener at Trenton in the Northern Division Finals.

The 6-foot, 185-pound catcher, recently acquired by the Boston Red Sox as the player to be named in the David Wells trade with San Diego, had virtually no time to get to know his new teammates before digging in.

"Coming in, the only guy I knew was (reliever) Rusty Tucker," Kottaras said of his former teammate at Double-A Mobile. "He helped make (the transition) a little easier on me."

In his first game with the Sea Dogs (Game 2 of that first-round series), the Padres' former No. 2-rated prospect announced his arrival with a two-run homer in the third inning that tied the game.

On Wednesday, Kottaras padded his postseason stats with another two-run shot that staked Portland to an early lead en route to a 13-8 victory.

"He's become the best part of what was a bad situation," Red Sox farm director Mike Hazen said. "I've only seen him play four games in person so far, but we expect him to become an impact catcher for us over the next few years."

With Kottaras added to the playoff roster, the Sea Dogs have three catchers and only four starting pitchers. N. 5 starter Jose Vaquendano was dropped from the rotation to make room for Kottaras, with No. 1 starter Devern Hansack expected to make a second start if Game 5 becomes necessary.

COMFORTABLE CROWE: Now back in a comfort zone at his familiar position in center field, Trevor Crowe, the Indians' No. 1 pick (14th overall) in the 2005 draft entered Friday's game second in the playoffs with a .448 batting average.

He's also first in hits (13), doubles (six), slugging percentage (.793), extra-base hits (eight), runs scored (10) and triples (two), while ranking third with a .500 on-base percentage.

"Now that he's focusing primarily on one thing again, Trevor is back to doing what he does best -- spark this team," Aeros manager Tim Bogar said, referring to Crowe's three-week experiment at second base.

Crowe struggled with the transition and moved back to the outfield for the playoffs. The parent Indians want him to get more work at second base in the instructional league followed by the Arizona Fall League.

GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN: Sea Dogs closer Edgar Martinez left the team after Game 2 in Akron upon learning that his father suffered a fatal heart attack in Venezuela. In his honor, Portland's relief corps hung his No. 49 jersey on the home bullpen screen facing the field.

OSBORN REBOUND: After batting .250 in 114 regular-season games, Aeros third baseman Pat Osborn is third on the team with a .385 playoff average (10-for-26), going 3-for-5 with three RBIs in Game 2.

In the first-round, five-game series with Altoona, Osborn teamed with right fielder Brad Snyder to lead Akron with a .353 batting average.

"I really started to feel good during the last week of the season in Harrisburg," said Osborn, the Indians' No. 2 pick (72nd overall) in the 2002 draft out of the University of Florida. "I made some adjustments with my mechanics and stance. All of a sudden, things just came back to me. I spent the whole year trying to find it, tweaking all kinds of things in effort to get comfortable at the plate again."

Stephanie Storm is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

View More