9/29/2013 4:19 P.M. ET
Kotsay finishes career with 'happy' strikeout vs. Zito
By Rick Eymer / Special to MLB.com
SAN FRANCISCO -- Mark Kotsay had a special moment with a former teammate on his final day as an active Major League player.
Barry Zito came in to face Kotsay in the eighth inning of the Padres' 7-6 loss to the Giants on Sunday and struck him out. It was Kotsay's final at-bat and Zito's likely final appearance as a Giant.
"If I had to strike out in my final at-bat, I'm glad it was against a former teammate whom I respect and love," Kotsay said. "I'm happy for Barry."
Zito and Kotsay were teammates with the Oakland Athletics between 2004-06.
"We had a lot of fun together," Kotsay said.
When Giants manager Bruce Bochy came out to make the pitching change, Kotsay knew exactly who he would be facing.
"It was a great moment for both of us," Kotsay said. "I texted him and told him that I'm glad it was him out there for my final at-bat."
Zito responded and Kotsay read it out loud for reporters:
"[Heck], man, that was narlier [sic] than the World Series. I love you my brother. I have so much respect for you. I love that it was us together out there. See you soon."
Kotsay appeared in 1,914 games, collecting 1,784 hits.
"Mark had a great career," Padres manager Bud Black said. "He did it the right way. He's crossed a lot of bridges and did it well. He's in a good spot mentally."
Gyorko wraps up stellar rookie campaign
SAN FRANCISCO -- With the exception of missing a month of the season with a right groin strain, Padres second baseman Jedd Gyorko probably couldn't script a better rookie season.
After slugging his first career grand slam in Sunday's 7-6 loss to the Giants, he led all Major League rookies with 23 home runs and 48 extra-base hits and became the first rookie to lead the Padres in RBIs since Nate Colbert did it in 1969.
In fact, Gyorko is the first rookie second baseman since at least 1920, when the RBI became an official stat, to lead his team in RBIs. His 23 homers are also the third most in history by a rookie second baseman.
Perhaps most impressively is that Gyorko, who has made four errors all season, had 48 games of second-base experience in the Minors before the season began.
He finished the year with a .992 fielding percentage, the best performance by a rookie second baseman in Major League history.
Gyorko was drafted as a third baseman by the Padres in the second round of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft.
"You look at his complete season and he's done very well," Padres manager Bud Black said. "He's very consistent with his fielding. That was one of our concerns, moving to second. After the first couple of weeks of Spring Training, we knew he would be fine. He was making plays, moving left and right and turning the double play."
Rick Eymer is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.