Kent: Tense clubhouse no excuse for bad season

2/21/2006 - MLB Jeff Kent Los Angeles Dodgers + more

VERO BEACH, Fla. -- Citing his strained relationship with Barry Bonds in San Francisco, Jeff Kent said the tense atmosphere in the Los Angeles Dodgers' clubhouse last season shouldn't be used as a reason for the team's 71-91 finish.

"That's not an excuse. Me and Barry fought all the time and we went to the World Series," Kent said Tuesday. "Just because we can't all always get along doesn't mean we shouldn't win. It still shouldn't have affected the way we played."

Kent and outfielder Milton Bradley got into an argument last season over Kent's allegation that Bradley wasn't hustling, which later led Bradley to insinuating that Kent was a racist. Bradley was traded to Oakland during the offseason.

Kent said Tuesday that Bradley will become a great player and that he had an overall good relationship with the center fielder.

Kent also said his right wrist feels good following surgery Jan. 10 to remove scar tissue and repair a ligament.

"I'll be ready to play when the team needs me," he said. "I can't afford a setback, so I'll take it as slow as I need to."

Kent did not take batting practice and said he hasn't swung a bat since the surgery. He expects to stay away from hitting for a while because the swinging motion puts stress on the wrist.

Manager Grady Little said he's not concerned with Kent quickly getting back to being able to fully perform.

"We're not going to rush him along. He's been playing for a long time so he knows what he needs to do to get ready," Little said. "I dream about him having the same kind of year he had last year."

Kent led the Dodgers last year in home runs (29), RBI (105), runs (100) and slugging average (.512) as well as at-bats, hits and hit by pitches.