MINNEAPOLIS -- During the course of Mark Kotsay's accomplished 14-year Major League career, the outfielder/first baseman/designated hitter has been traded five times.
From Florida to San Diego in March 2001. From San Diego to Oakland in September 2003. From Oakland to Atlanta in January 2008. From Atlanta to Boston in August 2008, and from Boston to the White Sox on July 28, 2009.
Kotsay knows what it's like to be the player coveted in deals.
He also understands the concept of being the player whose on-field time gets cut into if players such as Washington's Adam Dunn or Milwaukee's Prince Fielder go from speculation to making their way to the South Side of Chicago before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. Regardless of the specific role played out in the overall situation, one of the steadying veteran forces in the White Sox clubhouse never lets the rumor mill alter his approach.
"You just focus on what you have to do while you are here," Kotsay said. "If you make yourself aware of what's going on from that standpoint, you will lose your focus.
"It can be tough when you are young. And if you have a foundation and have been with one organization your entire career, that's more difficult than if you have been traded and experience what it feels like to leave the clubhouse and a group of guys you've been with your whole career. It's part of the game and the reality is at this point in the season, there is a lot of talk about things. Just focus on what you have to do."
Following a hitless effort in Sunday's 7-6 loss at Target Field, Kotsay's average sits at .231. He was hitting below the Mendoza Line, at .197, as recently as June 8, which happens to coincide with the start of the team's amazing 26-5 run. The lifetime .280 hitter joins Gordon Beckham, A.J. Pierzynski and Carlos Quentin on the list of talented White Sox contributors on offense who didn't achieve what they wanted in the season's first half.
An organizational hope is that this group can provide the American League Central leaders a trade-like boost of energy at the plate without giving up top prospects in an acquisition.
"Obviously, when you have career numbers and get off to the start some of us did in here, you realize at some point, it's got to turn," said Kotsay, hitting .342 in his last 11 games. "We are not where we want to be. But we will hopefully be there at the end and look up and forget about what took place in April and May and realize in September, down the stretch, we have a chance to win."