Survivor Smacked Me In The Chops

Jeff Kent on “Survivor” recap: Clutch puzzle solving

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Jeff Kent was featured prominently in the season premiere of “Survivor” last week, but he was mostly an afterthought in the second episode last night. And yet because I wasted an hour of my life watching the show I’m going to do a Kent-centric recap now:

• The producers are clearly trying to make him a major character, as Kent and former “Facts of Life” actress Lisa Whelchel were the first two contestants mentioned in the whole “last week on …” recap.

• Kent was shown early on having a rough time with the island’s constant rainy weather because his knee, which he injured in the episode, continues to give him problems.

• His first words this week were an attempt to link the show and baseball: “I played baseball for 17 years. ‘Survivor’ is going to be a long season for me. If you don’t have anything left in the tank in October you aren’t going to be a champion. I’m making sure I’m taking care of my knee and making sure I have enough energy to help our team win.”

• Fun fact, considering that quote: Kent never actually won a champion during his MLB career.

• Kent does not know how to make a fire, so he fits in perfectly with seemingly everyone else on the show. How nearly everyone finds out they’re going to be on “Survivor” and doesn’t bother a), doing some cardio, and b) learning how to make a fire is beyond me.

• Despite the knee injury Kent volunteers to do extra work pulling a heavy sled during the immunity challenge, which makes sense even with the injury since he’s a former professional athlete and the other people are mostly just very good at being annoying.

• After doing a solid job pulling the sled Kent then goes to work trying to put together a large puzzle. He nimbly hops up onto the table where the puzzle is, suggesting last week’s fears about a torn MCL were overblown.

• His team falls behind in the puzzle making, but Kent fits the final pieces together by diving onto the table to flatten it into place to win second place and the reward of a tarp. He celebrates by lying on his back with legs and arms in the air while appearing to have some sort of brace or wrap on his knee, which means he either brought that or someone on the show gave it to him. Hmm.

• Kent and his tribe avoided tribal council for another week, which in turns means I have to watch this show for at least one more episode.

Diamondbacks sign Jeff Mathis to a two-year, $4 million deal

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 14:  Jeff Mathis #6 of the Miami Marlins hits a grand slam during the first inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at PETCO Park on June 14, 2016 in San Diego, California.   (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
Denis Poroy/Getty Images
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The Diamondbacks announced on Monday that the club signed catcher Jeff Mathis to a two-year, $4 million contract.

Mathis, 33, isn’t much with the stick as he owns a career .197/.254/.308 triple-slash line over parts of 12 seasons in the majors. The veteran, though, is well-regarded for his ability to play defense, call games, handle a pitching staff, and get along with his teammates in the clubhouse. As Craig mentioned last year, Mathis is often talked about as a future manager.

The D-Backs non-tendered Welington Castillo on Friday, so Chris Herrmann and Mathis are the team’s two catchers as presently constructed.

Jimmy Rollins wants to play in 2017

ARLINGTON, TX - MAY 10:  Jimmy Rollins #7 of the Chicago White Sox at Globe Life Park in Arlington on May 10, 2016 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
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ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that free agent shortstop Jimmy Rollins wants to continue playing in 2017.

Rollins, 38, signed a minor league deal with the White Sox for the 2016 season but hit a disappointing .221/.295/.329 over 166 plate appearances. The club released Rollins in the middle of June and he did not sign with a new team. He did join TBS as part of their playoff coverage.

Rollins is almost certainly looking at another minor league contract and will have to earn his way onto a major league roster by performing well in spring training.