Kouzmanoff Easing Back into Padres Lineup

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San Diego Padres third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff is protecting his arm early in spring training.

With Kouzmanoff just more than three months removed from
shoulder surgery on Nov. 15, the Padres have been limiting his
throws. Kouzmanoff, who hit .260 with 23 home runs and 84 RBIs last
season, is making a maximum of 20 tosses across the diamond from
third base and another 20 to second base per day.

That's a much different regimen than the one Kouzmanoff has
followed in his previous two camps with San Diego. The team opens
its spring schedule with a charity game against the Seattle
Mariners on Wednesday.

"I'd be taking slow rollers and making off-balance throws,"
Kouzmanoff said. "I'd be getting ready to be game ready for
Wednesday. Instead, we have a long spring so I can back off a
little, or ease into it."

Kouzmanoff originally jammed his shoulder at Dodger Stadium on
Sept. 23 when he fielded a swinging bunt, threw to first base and
landed on his right elbow. He began his throwing program in
mid-January, about two weeks later than he normally would start.
But with an additional week of spring training this year because of
the World Baseball Classic, Kouzmanoff has no concerns about being
ready for opening day against Los Angeles on April 6.

"I'm going to be ready," Kouzmanoff said. "That's definitely
been my goal. Opening day is a long time from now."