Jeff Kent’s career might be over

This isn’t necessarily a career-ending injury, but given that he probably was going to retire anyway, given that he has been playing with this degenerative tear in the cartilage of his left knee for about a month knowing all the while it could tear more severely at any time (and probably would, eventually, and that appears to be exactly what happened), and given that this is a wear-and-tear injury that is fairly normal for a 40-year-old guy trying to play baseball on an everyday basis for six months, it seems unlikely that he’ll return.
“Knowing him, I can’t say that for sure,” Dodgers manager Joe Torre said.
Indeed, Kent is known for his durability, his scrappiness and his willingness to play hurt. But he was said to be in excruciating pain when he came out of the game last night. He is back in Los Angeles now awaiting an MRI that will hopefully be done either tonight or tomorrow — club officials are trying to find a hospital where it can be done on a holiday weekend. It wouldn’t be a huge surprise if Kent tries to play again. But from what I am told, if he does, the same thing is very likely to happen again, only more severely.
There also is a chance the MRI will show nothing other than, again, wear and tear, and Kent can be back out there in a few days. But the fact the pain was severe enough to get him to take a seat has to mean something. Kent generally doesn’t take a seat for anything other than the manager giving him a day off.
Unfortunately, it probably means the end of a Hall of Fame career. Torre said Blake DeWitt will get the first crack at the everyday 2B job for the rest of the season. It also is very possible Kent could be placed on the 60-day DL next week to clear a 40-man roster spot for the September roster expansion, because the Dodgers appear to need spots.
Just to clarify, Kent has never said this will be his last season. But it was generally assumed by just about everybody, including Torre.
“I think he was just trying to help us win a pennant,” Torre said. “All the hinting seemed to say that this probably was going to be it for him. I really respect what he has done here, and I have been very comfortable with our relationship. He is a pro. I guess that is the only way you can categorize it.”

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  • max_power

    Jeff had a great career but he was a big problem in LA. I have to disagree with Joe about him being a “Pro” though. Andre Ethier is more of a “Pro” then Jeff. We were in a division race and all Kent could care about was himself and what Vinny had to say about him. Give me a break…I won’t miss his attitude or his bat in the lineup. If Kent isn’t in the clubhouse anymore I think that will have a great affect on this team. Sorry Jeff, you had a great career but you’re an asshole and no one is going to miss you. Go home today and spend time with your family and start getting your Hall Of Fame speech ready. Just leave this team alone.

  • JLS23

    Kent isn’t scrappy… he’s just stubborn. Adios ancient one.

  • Luke McCain

    I don’t understand all of the venom directed against Kent. He has been the best hitter on this team during his time here. He fields the balls hit near him and turns the double play as well as anyone. He is a true professional and the young guys would do well to emulate him. I hope DeWitt can learn the position and put up the kind of numbers that we have had from Kent.

  • Brooklyn Dodger

    Luke,

    You’re absolutely correct that “He fields the balls hit near him….” Problem is, if the ball isn’t hit very close to him, Kent doesn’t have the RANGE to get to it. Fielding is a lot more than just being able to field the balls hit in your immediate vicinity. How many ground balls do you imagine find their way through the infield for hits, that would otherwise be gobbled up by other second basemen? In fact, with Nomar at third and Blake at third, the Dodgers have a mostly rangeless infield. And trust me, that makes a huge difference, which includes added stress on the pitching staff.

  • max_power

    Jeff Kent would be the last person I’d want these kids to emulate.

  • JxR1255

    Jeff Kent was a great player, and still is, when he’s healthy. But I rather he get better and maybe come back as a pinch hitter, than hurt himself more. DeWitt can handle second base. I hope.

    I’m most likely in the minority here but, I’m glad Kent was with the Dodgers, otherwise I probably would have never known of him.