Tough Winter for Kouzmanoff

It's a cool Monday morning at Petco Park, and just another day at the office for Padres third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff.  Since off season shoulder surgery, Kouzmanoff is spending a lot of time rehabbing his right shoulder.

"It's new for me. I've never had surgery," said Kouzmanoff.  "It's difficult mentally, but I'll be ready for opening day."

He's actually taking it a step further.

"I want to be ready to go when we head to spring training in two weeks," added Kouzmanoff.

After hitting .260 with 23 home runs and 84 RBI's last season, Kouzmanoff isn't going to let this shoulder injury limit his improvement.

"I can use more discipline at the plate, but I've got a lot of confidence going into this season," Kouzmanoff said.

There was a marked improvement last season defensively, and he's getting used to a new throwing motion right now.  Kouzmanoff  worked with bullpen coach Darrel Akerfelds on throwing a little more over the top.

"They think it'll take a little pressure off my shoulder," said Kouzmanoff.

Manager Bud Black watched and was impressed with Kouzmanoff's post-surgical progress.

"Kooz was a much better defensive third baseman last season," said Black. "I think he's right on schedule, and will be in good shape when we start the season."

Its been a tough winter for Kevin Kouzmanoff. It's getting better day by day.            

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