Kottaras enjoys homecoming vs. Jays
Backup catcher grew up 30 minutes outside Toronto
TORONTO -- George Kottaras was back home. The backup catcher who used to cheer passionately for Joe Carter, Roberto Alomar and Jon Olerud as a Blue Jays fan had the honor of making his first career start at the Rogers Centre on Friday.
Kottaras is the pride of Markam, Ontario, which is roughly a 30-minute drive from the home of the Toronto Blue Jays.
"I was just outside with my parents now and to catch up with them in person, it was good to see them. They get to see me play," said Kottaras. "They've been watching games on TV. I'm just very happy to see them."
Though Kottaras came to Toronto with the Red Sox as a late-season callup last September, it was different this time around as a regular member of the team.
"I was a pretty big Jays guy -- especially in '92-'93, when they won the championships, but I'm a Red Sox now," Kottaras said. "That's just part of it."
He was expecting his fair share of support during Friday's game.
"My parents, my brother and my grandparents and my uncle [are all here]," said Kottaras. "I have a lot of family coming to the game tonight. I guess they're all spread out throughout the stadium. It's going to be good to see them."
Kottaras is enjoying his first season in the Majors, and his primary role as Tim Wakefield's personal catcher.
While he's been adept at catching the knuckler, Kottaras admits that it's been hard to get into a rhythm offensively with infrequent at-bats.
"It's an adjustment process," Kottaras said. "I'm trying to go grow as a player on how to handle it. I've been asking a lot of questions and trying to stay focused on the days I don't play and keep going. Just understanding how to deal with it, and it's coming along."
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.