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07/09/08 11:00 PM ET

Kotsay busts slump with three-hit game

Outfielder's main goal is to stay healthy after DL stint

LOS ANGELES -- Growing up in the Los Angeles suburb of Whittier, Mark Kotsay enjoyed a number of memorable days with his father at Dodger Stadium. The two shared another good moment there Tuesday night, when the Braves center fielder enjoyed a three-hit performance that provided him a needed confidence booster.

"It's great to play in front of the family and have some success so that my nephew doesn't rag me when I get home," Kotsay said.

Kotsay's first three-hit game since May 12 did prompt his 13-year-old nephew to send him a text that read "Way to swing it." If he'd wanted to really rattle his uncle, the teenager could have composed something like "It's about time."

When Kotsay ended a five-week stint on the disabled list on July 1, he indicated that his ailing back had improved and that he was looking to regain the mechanics of his swing as soon as possible. Unfortunately for him, he had to endure a 1-for-20 slump before enjoying Tuesday's three-hit game.

"I know a lot of success is based on offensive statistics," Kotsay said. "I put a lot of focus on my defense, too. When you work hard in this game, the results will usually eventually be there. Hopefully by the end of this season, the results will be there for me."

After having back surgery in late March 2007, Kotsay returned to the A's outfield and dealt with pain that led to him playing a career-low 56 games. To prevent a second straight abbreviated season during the final year of his contract, he's going to take some occasional days off when he feels his back needs a rest.

"My concern is to finish out the season and prove that I can stay healthy and consistent," Kotsay said.

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.