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Kendall excited to be back in NL with Cubs



Published: Wed, July 18, 2007 @ 12:00 a.m.

He waived his no-trade clause with Oakland and flew to Chicago.

CHICAGO (AP) — It took Jason Kendall no time at all to waive his no-trade clause when Oakland general manager Billy Beane told him he’d worked out a deal sending the veteran catcher to the Cubs.

“I said, ‘Where is it?’ He said, ‘Cubs.’ I said, ‘All right, let’s do it,”’ Kendall said Tuesday after joining Chicago and being put right into the lineup and batting seventh against the San Francisco Giants.

“It was a no-brainer.”

Kendall, a three-time All-Star with Pittsburgh, is a career .298 hitter but was batting just .226 with the Athletics, who are making rookie Kurt Suzuki their starter.

The 33-year-old Kendall was traded Monday for catcher Rob Bowen and minor league left-hander Jerry Blevins.

Oakland also sent the Cubs $4,541,257 to cover the remainder of Kendall’s salary, which was $13.4 million this season.

Kendall said the A’s were headed in another direction with Suzuki and it was time to go.

“I’m at the point in my career where I’m not ready to be a tutor,” Kendall said.

“I want to win.”

Kendall said he hopes his return to the National League — he spent nine seasons with the Pirates — and a change of scenery will get him out of his offensive funk.

Favorite place to play

He added that Wrigley Field was his favorite place to play of all the major league parks.

“Now I get to do it on a daily basis,” he said.

Kendall, who took an early flight Tuesday from the Bay Area, becomes the sixth catcher to start a game for the Cubs this season.

Michael Barrett, whose defense was spotty and who got into a fight with ace Carlos Zambrano, was the starter out of spring training because of his strong bat.

But he was traded to the Padres in a deal that brought Bowen to Chicago.

Becomes sixth catcher

Along with Bowen, other Cubs catchers have been Henry Blanco, Koyie Hill and Geovany Soto, who was optioned back to Triple-A on Tuesday to make room on the roster for Kendall.

“Is it really six? How about that?” manager Lou Piniella said. “We only had six starting pitchers, right? One for each.”

The Cubs like the durable Kendall’s experience and grittiness and Piniella said he’ll probably catch four or five games a week once he gets a feel for the staff.

“Whatever Lou wants me to do I’ll do,” Kendall said, adding a quick qualifier with some humor. “As long as I’m not hitting ninth.”


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