Kevin Kouzmanoff (born July 25, 1981, in Newport Beach, California), known as "Kooooz","The Crushin' Russian" (despite having Macedonian descent [1][2][3]), or "Mashin' Macedonian", is a Major League Baseball player with the San Diego Padres. He became the third player to hit a grand slam in his first major league at bat after Bill Duggleby in 1898 and Jeremy Hermida in 2005,[4] and the first to do so on the first pitch.

High school, college, and minor leaguesEdit

Kouzmanoff grew up in Evergreen, Colorado where he played high school baseball at Evergreen High School. In 2002, he attended the University of Arkansas at Little Rock where he hit .364. In 2003, he attended the University of Nevada-Reno where as a walk-on he hit .361.

In the 2003 amateur draft, the Cleveland Indians selected Kouzmanoff in the 6th-round (168th overall).

Kouzmanoff made his professional debut later in 2003 with the Mahoning Valley Scrappers, hitting .272 with eight home runs and 33 runs batted in in 206 at bats. Kevin also played for the Winchester Royals in Virginia.

In 2004, Kouzmanoff hit 16 home runs, 87 RBI and a .330 average with the Lake County Captains of the South Atlantic League. Bothered by back problems in 2005, he was limited to only 254 at bats with the Kinston Indians, but still hit .339 with 12 home runs and 58 RBI.

Starting the 2006 season with Double A Akron, Kouzmanoff flirted with a .400 average[5] before finishing at .389 and being promoted to the Buffalo Bisons in July.

Major leaguesEdit

Cleveland IndiansEdit

On September 2, 2006, Kouzmanoff became the 23rd Major Leaguer to hit a home run in his first Major League at bat, the 12th American Leaguer to do so, and the second of 2006 (along with Adam Wainwright of the St. Louis Cardinals). He was only the third player to have the home run be a grand slam.[6] Kouzmanoff is the only player in Major League Baseball history to hit a grand slam on his first pitch ever seen in the Big Leagues.

On November 8, 2006, Kouzmanoff was traded with pitcher Andrew Brown to San Diego in exchange for second baseman Josh Barfield.

San Diego PadresEdit

Padres fans were slow to embrace Kouzmanoff at the beginning of the season; Barfield had been popular with fans, and Kouzmanoff endured a slow start. However, he has since increased his production and fans affectionately root "Koooz" when he makes a play, comes to bat, or has a hit, leading some uninitiated spectators to believe he is being booed.

File:Kevin Kouzmanoff.jpg

In 2007, Kouzmanoff was ninth among all NL rookies in RBIs (74; behind Troy Tulowitzki and Ryan Braun), 7th in home runs (18; behind Braun, Chris Young, Tulowitzki, and Josh Hamilton), hits (133), and extra base hits (50), and tied for 10th in runs (57).


External linksEdit

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