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Kohn signs contract with Tampa Bay Rays
CAMDENS MICHAEL KOHN will stay in the American League, albeit, now on the East Coast. - photo by Photo courtesy LA Angels

Camden native and former Camden High School baseball standout Michael Kohn has signed a one-year Major League contract with the Tampa Bay Rays.

The announcement was made by the American League East franchise last Thursday evening. Kohn, 28, signed his contract with the organization a week earlier, but had to take a mandatory physical before the agreement between the two sides officially took place.

Kohn’s signing was the first move of the offseason for the Rays, who immediately added the right-handed reliever to the team’s 40-man roster.

Kohn asked for and was granted his release from his contract by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in August, thereby making him a free agent. Some 15 clubs inquired to Kohn and his agent regarding obtaining his services.

A 13th round draft choice by the Angels in 2008, Kohn made a quick rise through the organization after having been converted to a closer in the second half of his senior season at the College of Charleston.

A little more than two weeks after being selected by the Halos, he made his Major League debut in a relief appearance against the Boston Red Sox on July 26, 2010. Kohn went 2-0 in 2010.

Ironically, his first career win came on Sept. 17, 2010 against the Rays at Tropicana Field.

Kohn was on the Angels’ opening day roster in 2011 before missing the entire 2012 season due to Tommy John surgery on his throwing arm.

Kohn made the Angels’ Opening Day roster and compiled a 3.04 ERA in 25 appearances before being optioned to AAA Salt Lake City on June 3. At one point he went 17 straight appearances without allowing an earned run. The Rays snapped that streak on May 16 at Angel Stadium.

Though he had another stint in the Major Leagues this season (June 28-July 1), he did not pitch.

Kohn has a 3.52 ERA in 88 appearances the past two seasons. He is 5-6 with a 3.67 ERA and 8.7 strikeouts per nine innings pitched over four Major League seasons.

Kohn will join what appears to be a crowded bullpen. The Rays headed into the offseason with a host of right-handed relievers, including Grant Balfour, Brad Boxberger, Kirby Yates, Joel Peralta, Brandon Gomes and Steve Geltz.

A 2004 Camden High graduate, Kohn was an infielder for Denny Beckley’s Bulldogs and also played for the Kershaw County American Legion Post 17 baseball team, as well.