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09/20/08 10:00 PM ET
Kent comes off disabled list
Dodgers veteran could see action in pinch-hit role
By Ken Gurnick / MLB.com
LOS ANGELES -- With the Dodgers losing big late in Friday night's game, it was suggested in the dugout that it would have been a perfect spot for Jeff Kent to get his first at-bat since knee surgery. Except, he hadn't been activated off the disabled list. Now he is. Kent was activated for Saturday night's game, although that didn't mean he had a miraculous recovery. His left knee still isn't ready to run the bases at full speed or play defense, and it still stiffens up after activity. But if there's another blowout, win or lose, he's likely to make an appearance. "Nothing's changed," Kent said. "But we talked last night. It's a free roster spot, so why not?" Manager Joe Torre told Kent he has only pinch-hitting in mind for him, so the thought of rehabbing in Instructional League games was scrapped. What Kent is able to do in a pinch-hitting role over the final eight games will determine whether he finds his way onto the postseason roster, if the Dodgers clinch the National League West. "The way the situation is, I'm perfectly happy with [Blake] DeWitt [at second base] and [Casey] Blake at third," said Torre. "The rest of the season, we'll see where [Kent] is health-wise. If we clinch, we can rehab him here and take a look at him." Kent had surgery on Sept. 2 after leaving an Aug. 31 game in Phoenix with torn cartilage. Torre said the club hasn't made the same move with injured shortstop Rafael Furcal because the lingering nerve sensation in his leg prevents him from using his best tools -- speed and range. The club remains hopeful Furcal improves in time to be activated, either to show his readiness for the first round of playoffs, or even perhaps a later round.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.