A's avoid arbitration with Kottaras
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OAKLAND -- The arbitration eligible count has dropped to three. The Oakland Athletics have come to terms on a one-year deal with catcher George Kottaras to avoid arbitration. That leaves Jerry Blevins, Brandon Moss, and Seth Smith as the outstanding players that could let an arbitration court decide their 2013 salary.

Kottaras, 29, was acquired last July in a trade with the Milwaukee Brewers. The left-handed hitting catcher batted .212 with six home runs and 19 RBIs in 27 games with the A's. Kottaras came through in big situations for the Oakland last season. He hit .293 with six of his nine homers coming with runners on base, and hit .368 with runners in scoring position.

He finished the season with career highs in walks (37), on-base percentage (.351) and home runs (9). The 29-year-old Kottaras has a .220 career average and is entering his sixth MLB season after playing for the Red Sox and Brewers for most of his first five years in the majors.

With Kottaras and second-year catcher Derek Norris returning next season, Oakland could use them in a platoon. It is most likely, however, that Norris will get a larger share of the playing time. The A's organization was confident enough with the Norris/Kottaras tandem that they traded veteran leader Kurt Suzuki mid-season in 2012.

"We're comfortable with both of those guys," A's manager Bob Melvin said at the end of the A's playoff run, when asked about the duo behind the dish in 2013.