nicknames: Crushin Russian, Mashin Macedonian, Kooooz
July 25, 1981
Newport Beach, California
|Bats: Right||Throws: Right|
|September 2, 2006 for the Cleveland Indians|
(through 2009 season)
|Runs batted in||257|
Kouzmanoff made his professional debut later in 2003 with the Mahoning Valley Scrappers, hitting .272 with eight home runs and 33 RBI in 206 at-bats. Kouzmanoff 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.
On September 2, 2006, Kouzmanoff became the 23rd major leaguer to hit a home run on his first Major League pitch, the 12th American Leaguer to do so, and the second of 2006 (along with Adam Wainwright of the St. Louis Cardinals). Kouzmanoff hit a grand slam off of then-Texas Ranger Edinson Volquez on the first pitch he ever saw in the major leagues, the only player in MLB history to ever to do so on the first pitch.
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.
In 2007, Kouzmanoff was ninth among all NL rookies in RBI (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).
In 2009 he set an National League single-season record for third basemen with a .990 fielding percentage, committing three errors in 309 total chances. Kouzmanoff broke the record of .987 by Colorado's Vinny Castilla in 2004.