Kendall says count him in for next year
September 9, 2007
BY GORDON WITTENMYER [email protected]
PITTSBURGH -- Jason Kendall, the veteran catcher who has given the Cubs an offensive boost at that position since being acquired in a July trade, said he wants to re-sign with the Cubs after the season, when he becomes a free agent.
''I love it here. How could you not love playing in Chicago? It's awesome,'' said Kendall, who actually was booed in his first game as a Cub after losing a foul pop.
''That's baseball. That's beautiful,'' he said of the experience. ''Just playing at Wrigley Field, just playing in front of the fans.''
• The 'Z' they had to see
Kendall said contracts and free agency are the ''farthest thing from my mind'' as the Cubs chase a possible playoff berth. General manager Jim Hendry said the decision over whether to pursue Kendall will be made after the season.
But it's no secret his status with the Cubs next year affects the status of rookie Geovany Soto, who looks more like a capable major-league starter every chance he gets to play, including another good game Friday. ''Soto's a good player, and he's going to be good for a long time,'' Kendall said.
Manager Lou Piniella on the National League Central race: ''Looks to me like the best way to pick up some ground is get rained out.''
• • Scott Taylor, a former fifth-round draft pick who pitched this season at Class A Daytona, tested positive to a drug of abuse and was suspended for 50 games under baseball's minor-league drug testing program. Because Daytona's season is over, the suspension starts next season for Taylor, who went 4-11 with a 5.74 ERA in 13 starts and 13 relief appearances.
• • Alfonso Soriano's first-pitch home run in the fifth inning Saturday made him 33-for-64 (.516), with an .891 slugging percentage, when putting the first pitch in play. It was not immediately known how many times he has swung and missed at the first pitch.
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