Kent indifferent to retiring

first_imgVERO BEACH, Fla. – Dodgers second baseman Jeff Kent said Wednesday he has yet to decide whether he will retire after the upcoming season. He also said he doesn’t know when he will make that decision and that until he does, he has no interest in discussing it. “Last year, I talked about that a lot,” Kent said. “This year, I won’t, and maybe that is a telltale sign that it might be (his last year).” It clearly played a major role in the fact he hit just 14home runs, his lowest single-season total in a decade. But Dodgers strength and conditioning coach Doug Jarrow visited Kent last fall at his Austin, Texas, home and left him with specific instructions for a new workout program geared toward those oblique muscles. “Contrary to most beliefs, I do lift weights all the time,” Kent said. “I always work out in the offseason. But we added a new workout schedule for new body parts.” Changing colors: Dodgers first baseman Nomar Garciaparra said club officials have told him there is a plan to change the color of the Dodger Stadium dugout club seats behind home plate in an attempt to prevent injuries and fielding errors. Last year, the seats were a pale yellow color. Consequently, infielders routinely lost the path of the ball after it left the pitcher’s hand because it blended into the scenery. “I think they’re going to go to kind of a teal green,” Garciaparra said. “They asked me about it, and that was great of them to do that. The organization listened to what we were saying. They wanted to do it right.” Several infielders, both with the Dodgers and with opposing clubs, complained about the problem last season, the first year for the ballpark’s new color scheme. Changing minds: Dodgers manager Grady Little said earlier this week that he decided who his leadoff man was but wouldn’t announce it until after meeting with Rafael Furcal. That seemed to be an indication that Furcal would drop to the No. 2 spot behind newly signed center fielder Juan Pierre. But Wednesday, Little said he had changed his mind and was withholding judgment. “To be honest, I find myself changing from one morning to the next,” Little said. “So I’m not going to make a decision until I am dead set that it’s the way I want to go.” [email protected] (818) 713-3607 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! “By December, I was ready to play baseball,” Kent said. In other words, the notoriously dour Kent – who has ridden his admittedly indifferent attitude toward the game to what probably is a Hall of Fame career – has a new attitude, now that his bothersome left oblique has finally had enough time to properly heal. He was smiling broadly as he entered the Dodgers’ clubhouse, shaking hands with teammates along the way. Last spring, Kent signed a one-year, $11.5 million extension that will kick in this season. The complicated deal carries a $7 million club option for next season, with a $500,000buyout, or a $9 million vesting option if Kent has 550 plate appearances this year. And if Kent has that many plate appearances, it will mean he was reasonably healthy throughout 2007 – which might motivate him to return in 2008 if he still feels productive. Kent now admits the oblique strain, which landed him on the DL from July 18- Aug.7, continued to bother him the rest of the season. center_img Kent then covered his bets by seeming to suggest he will return in 2008. The last Dodgers player to report to spring training, he said that after an injury-plagued 2006 in which he went on the disabled list twice, he began looking forward to the next season earlier than ever. last_img read more

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Strike threat leaves cloud over La Liga

first_img0Shares0000Lionel Messi scored twice for Barcelona on the opening weekend © AFP / LLUIS GENEMADRID, Spain, Aug 24 – The prospect of a player strike hangs over Spanish football heading into the second week of the season, as Barcelona and Real Madrid look to build on winning starts to the campaign.La Liga bosses dropped a bombshell on the eve of the campaign when they announced their intention to stage top-flight matches in the United States, starting from this season. However, a move announced as part of attempts to improve the Spanish league’s global popularity has this week been attacked by the country’s players union, AFE.“Footballers are not for sale. We don’t only think about money,” said AFE president David Aganzo, once a striker on Madrid’s books.The union say they hope to persuade league chiefs to change their minds at a meeting next month, with strike action promised if they do not get the outcome they are hoping for.“We are worried for supporters. We see football in a different way. Going to the United States is madness,” Aganzo added.The AFE have also said that match scheduling is a concern, with Valencia’s opening weekend draw with Atletico Madrid one of two games played on Monday night.Matches that do not finish until after midnight are also a feature of the start of the new season, with champions Barcelona’s match at Valladolid one such game this weekend.– Messi in fine fettle already –Ernesto Valverde’s side face their newly promoted opponents fresh from starting their title defence by beating Alaves 3-0 at the Camp Nou, with Lionel Messi scoring a brace, including a superb free-kick.“Finding a way to stop Messi is practically impossible,” said Valladolid coach Sergio Gonzalez.“We will try to ensure that he touches the ball as little as possible. That is great in theory, but the important thing is to stay focused.”While Messi looked as brilliant as ever against Alaves, Real began life in La Liga without Cristiano Ronaldo by beating Getafe 2-0.For now, the two great individuals of the last decade continue to be compared with one another, even with Ronaldo having left for Juventus.“People rarely mention one without mentioning the other,” Valverde said in an interview with Barcelona club media.“A lot of people are interested, me too, to see how it will affect Real Madrid’s football and what they might do in the transfer market, and also knowing that Ronaldo is at another club and what that might mean for La Liga and the Champions League too.”– Courtois awaits debut –Will Thibaut Courtois make his Real Madrid debut in Girona? © AFP / JAVIER SORIANOThe early signs for Real are that Gareth Bale will step forward, after he scored one goal and made another against Getafe to give new coach Julen Lopetegui his first win at the helm.The European champions go to Catalonia on Sunday night to face Girona — who beat them in this fixture last season — with Thibaut Courtois still waiting to make his debut in goal following his arrival from Chelsea.Atletico have been tipped to make a serious push for the title this season, and they started with a 1-1 draw at Valencia, despite Angel Correa giving them the lead.Diego Simeone’s side have a derby at home to newly-promoted Rayo Vallecano on Saturday evening and come into the game with winger Vitolo having been ruled out for several weeks with a knee injury.Rayo look set to welcome back striker Raul de Tomas on loan from Real Madrid, with media reports saying he has agreed to return to the club for whom he netted 24 times on loan during their run to promotion last season.Fixtures (all times GMT)FridayGetafe v Eibar (1815), Leganes v Real Sociedad (2015)SaturdayAlaves v Betis (1615), Atletico Madrid v Rayo Vallecano (1815), Valladolid v Barcelona (2015)SundayEspanyol v Valencia (1615), Girona v Real Madrid, Sevilla v Villarreal (both 2015)MondayLevante v Celta Vigo (1815), Athletic Bilbao v Huesca (2000)0Shares0000(Visited 3 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

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