JUPITER -- It was Sept. 28, 2011, when Kevin Kouzmanoff last appeared in a Major League game. He wore the Colorado Rockies colors in a game where he contributed three hits to a 6-3 victory over the Giants in San Francisco.
He finished the month with a .235 average; the highest he had seen it go all season.
For a player who began his career with a rare grand slam off of the first pitch he saw, Kouzmanoff hasnt had a chance to improve that .235.
He is fighting in Jupiter for a spot on the Miami Marlins roster, after he spent 2012 playing in the Kansas City Royals minor-league system. Miami signed him to a minor-league deal in November to add depth to the infield.
Baseballs a game of failure. Ive been playing this my whole life, Kouzmanoff said. Its about how you bounce back; you have to take the good with the bad.
The 31-year-old got a rare start Tuesday and went 0 for 4 against Team Venezuela. Manager Mike Redmond started him after he produced back-to-back home runs entering play.
Its tough when youre sitting most of the game and called upon in the seventh, eighth, ninth inning, he said. Its tough to do that, [but] at the same time, you have to act in your mind like youre in it from pitch one.
The Miami locker room is full of unknowns. Kouzmanoff is going to take advantage of the opportunity he has to compete.
[Its a] young group of guys who are energetic, working hard, [and] playing hard, he said. Its competitive this spring; that makes it fun.
Austin Kearns is a piece of what the newer Marlin cant control. The other non-roster invitee to camp played mainly in the outfield for Miami in 2012, and is considered to be in the running alongside Kouzmanoff for a place on Mike Redmonds bench.
Playing on the bench is tough, the skip said. Believe me, if you ask anybody how hard it is to come off the bench in the big leagues, its almost impossible. I look back to guys like Mike Mordecai or Lenny Harris, these guys hit .200 off the bench and that was great.
Kouzmanoff doesnt want to overanalyze a rough season. His goals are simply to get his work done, and be ready.
He just finished reading the Allman brothers biography, whose careers in music were riddled with turbulence. Hes onto Andre Agassis autobiography Open, recounting the noted athletes personal struggle to find his identity. With focus, the Marlins roster could be a good place for Kouzmanoff to define himself as a player.
Hes a guy whos got an opportunity; hes trying to make our team, Redmond said. Were trying to see what weve got with him to see if hes an option for us coming off the bench.
• Thursday: RHP Ricky Nolasco vs. RHP Matt Harvey at New York Mets, Port St. Lucie 1:10 p.m.
• Friday: RHP Nathan Eovaldi vs. RHP Adam Warren at Roger Dean Stadium, Jupiter 1:05 p.m.