04/20/2007 11:25 PM ET
Kouzmanoff: A pleasant surprise
It was a surprise for me when I got traded for Josh Barfield in the offseason, as it was for a lot of other people. I didn't see it coming, but I was happy about it. I'm glad I'm here and that I'm part of the Padres organization.
Kevin Kouzmanoff was acquired by the Padres last November in a trade with the Indians. (Denis Poroy/AP)
Both the Indians and the Padres organizations have produced a lot of good players because they both have such good Minor League systems. I only have experience in the Indians' farm system and they have a lot invested over there. In fact, I think the Indians' deep farm systems helped enable the trade.
The Indians were a first-class organization. They treated us well and developed their players. Everything was organized very well over there.
I've struggled a bit hitting this month, but I'm not trying to change anything yet. I just go out and play. I've been successful in the past, so I'm not going to change unless need be.
This remains pretty new to me. I made my Major League debut last September and played 16 games for the Indians. It was good for me to just get a taste, so I'd know what to expect coming into this year. Now I've adjusted to playing for the Padres.
I came to the club in the spring not really knowing anybody. As it turns out, I didn't have much to worry about. All the guys are great. It's loosey-goosey in the clubhouse and there's a relaxed atmosphere. That's what makes it fun. Brian Giles is one of the funniest guys in the clubhouse. Everybody is great, joking around and whatever.
Giles has been joking about no one knowing my first name. He called me Chris, he's called me Jeff. It's all fun and games. I don't know if that's true that nobody knows my first name, but I don't hear people call me Kevin too much, just "Kouz."
Brian just tries to keep it loose in here, but once we're on the field, we're all business. Regardless of who's out on the field, we're all out there playing hard every day and trying to win.
Kevin Kouzmanoff, acquired last November in a trade with the Indians, is widely considered one of the top third-base prospects in baseball. The 25-year-old was a sixth round pick by the Indians in 2003 coming out of the University of Nevada-Reno.