Jeff Kent Thinking 2006 May be His Last

Jeff Kent arrived in Dodgertown for his 15th spring training, wondering himself if this will be his last. But he said he was not sure. It becomes harder each year to leave his wife and four children in Texas and pointed out that he felt for a time he thought that 2004 would be his final season in Dodger Blue.

At age 38, with an ugly fourth-place finish and a sharp disagreement with a teammate, he was glad the season was over and was toying with requesting a trade.

Then manager Jim Tracy and GM Paul DePodesta were fired in succession, he began to wonder what was going on.

Being a direct sort of person, he turned around and drove back to Los Angeles to ask the right person -- Owner Frank McCourt -- what was his plan for the club. If he didn't like the answers, he was going to opt out rather than put up with another 2005.

But McCourt's explanation completely soothed Kent, much like he had convinced Rafael Furcal to turn down a larger contract with the Chicago Cubs to sign in Los Angeles.

Kent had a magnificent season last year and was the only Dodger regular who played enough to be eligible for the batting championship.

Without his bat in the lineup, Los Angeles might have finished in the second division of the American Association.

In multiple interviews on his first day in camp, Kent…

v Said the clubhouse attitude last year wasn't an excuse for the 71-91 season. And pointed out that opposing personalities should not keep a team from winning, pointing out the confrontation he and Barry Bonds had while in San Francisco.

v Said despite the well-publicized outburst he and Milton Bradley had last year, he thought outfielder Bradley will become a great player and that they have a comfortable relationship now.

v Said his right wrist is recovering from the operation in January and although he has not set a timetable to return, he'll be ready when he is needed. He will not take batting practice for a while and will take a careful approach to his rehab.

GM Ned Colletti said he was interested in Kent playing beyond this season. He knows that he may be mentally ready to retire but that he certainly not physically finished and hoped that after the season they could come to some sort of contract agreement.

Dodger Blue Notes-- In an online discussion on the Dodgers.com site Tuesday, Dodgers owner Frank McCourt said the team was "looking into" putting player names back on jerseys in 2007, a move that will please countless hundreds of Dodger fans. The names were removed before the 2005 season and Major League Baseball does not allow uniform changes in consecutive seasons. …1B--3B-PH Olmedo Saenz had decided against playing for Panama in the World Baseball Classic -- that is until his mother died a week ago. An outpouring of sympathy after her death changed his mind. He decided to play in the World Baseball Classic in her honor. He is the seventh Dodger to commit to the new tournament, including Jose Cruz Jr. and Ricky Ledee of Puerto Rico, Jae Seo and Hee-Seop Choi of South Korea, Oscar Robles of Mexico and Hong-Chih Kuo of Chinese Taipei. Thursday when first baseman Choi and right-hander Seo left for Korea to join their national team. Left-hander Kuo will leave Sunday for his team's training camp. ...…JD Drew and his wife, Sheigh had a little boy a day ago and Drew, who was waiting for the big event, will not report to camp.

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