04/02/2002 7:20 pm ET
Giants GM to disappointed Kent: 'tough luck'
By Josh Rawitch / MLB.com
LOS ANGELES -- Opening Day at Dodger Stadium had its share of fireworks on the field but they were not limited to the 20-minute pregame ceremony or Barry Bonds' at-bats. After Jeff Kent said he was disappointed in the organization's decision to leave him off the Opening Day roster, general manager Brian Sabean said he had heard enough from his second baseman.
"He should have thought more about his actions that put him and the club in this position," said Sabean. "I didn't break his wrist. What I say is 'tough luck.' Quote, unquote."
Kent injured his left wrist March 1. He told the team and reporters that he fell while washing his truck. Sabean now believes that Kent hurt himself in a motorcycle accident.
"I'm ready to play Major League Baseball," Kent said. "I was disappointed that the organization made that decision but I respect it. ... The organization made this decision without me."
But head trainer Stan Conte said Kent's feeling were relayed to management throughout the rehabilitation process.
"It may seem to Jeff that he didn't have input but he in fact, did," said Conte, who enters his 13th season with the Giants and third as head trainer. "Any player who's a competitor like Jeff, is going to be disappointed [and] frustrated that he's not in there on Opening Day and that's the way it should be. I don't think there's any controversy at all."
Sabean, who set the Opening Day roster, has not spoken to Kent since rumors of the motorcycle accident first began to circulate. Nor does he plan to.
"That's the way it works. We're well within our rights," said Sabean. "You can't tell me that ... two exhibition games down in Scottsdale is getting him ready to face Kevin Brown or Hideo Nomo and I think that's very prudent.
"So too bad for Jeff," he added, motioning above his head. "I'm up to here with Jeff."
Kent was firm in his belief that he is ready to play and said that while he was facing minor-league pitching, he got jammed on occasion and was not bothered any more than usual. He was pleased to be able to make the trip with the Giants rather than remain in Arizona.
"That's my job," he said. "I don't want to miss any wars that these guys go through or any battles that these guys go through so that's why I'm here."
Ultimately, it came down to the fact that the Giants could place Kent on the 15-day disabled list, but make it retroactive so that he would only miss the first four games of the season. That opportunity was too good to pass up, according to Conte.
"It's a little bit gray area only because medically, the fracture is not completely healed. But clinically, meaning when you look at him and you test him, he's ready," said Conte. "But like with any injury, if we can get three or four more days, we always want it."
Conte pointed to J.T. Snow's rib injury last season, admitting that the team rushed him back and as a result, he sustained a strained groin. That's the last thing the Giants need, but it didn't stop Conte and Kent from taking some risks in speeding up the recovery process.
"I think it's safe to say that Jeff is a risk-taker and he was willing to do that," said Conte. "A lot of players aren't. That's to his credit and I'm really pretty proud of him. I think he worked his [butt] off."
Kent was in agreement.
"I know my body pretty well," he said. "Stan had me on the fast track to get back. I think his workout program during Spring Training is phenomenal. It allowed me this opportunity to be ready to play and I'm ready to play."
That may be true, but for now, he'll have to wait until Saturday.
Josh Rawitch covers the Giants for MLB.com and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.