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Jason Kendall chips in as coach while hoping to play again

Feb 24, 2012, 10:30 PM EDT

Jason Kendall Reuters

37-year-old Jason Kendall is back with the Royals this spring, but this time it’s as a special assignment coach helping to work with the team’s catchers. After his latest shoulder surgery in November, his future as a player looks bleak, the Kansas City Star reports.

“Can I play again?” Kendall asked. “I don’t know. I’m going to give it a shot. Is it going to be this year? No, probably not. But who knows? I’m in uncharted waters…This job might be something that I enjoy.”

Kendall hasn’t played since 2010, but he collected a nice $3.75 million salary from the Royals last year anyway. He estimated his chances of making it back to the majors at “five percent.”

If Kendall is done, he’ll finish his career with a .288/.366/.378 line, 75 homers and 744 RBI in 2,085 games. It’s easy to forget now, but he was an outstanding player his first five years in the league before injuries robbed him of both his speed and power (he hit .314/.402/.456 in 2,294 at-bats through age 26). Even so, he managed to hang on for 15 years and he currently ranks fifth all-time in games caught at 2,025.
  1. dondada10 - Feb 24, 2012 at 11:06 PM

    If grit had a Hall of Fame, this guy would be a unanimous induction.

  2. antifreeze27 - Feb 24, 2012 at 11:35 PM

    How is Jason Varitek not doing the same thing? Everyone knows he’s gonna have a coaching role on the team and soon…

  3. royhobbs39 - Feb 25, 2012 at 8:22 AM

    I still view that play where he fractured his ankle (1999?) was one of the more gruesome plays in baseball I have ever seen. I remember thinking at the time he would never come back from that. Maybe he was not quite the same player, but he definitely had a pretty solid career for a catcher.

    • foreverchipper10 - Feb 27, 2012 at 12:46 PM

      I still cannot get that image out of my head. I think that was WAY worse than the Napoli injury this year. And that was gross.

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