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.

Report: Teams have inquired with the Angels about Hector Santiago

ANAHEIM, CA - JULY 20:  Hector Santiago #53 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim pitches during the first inning of a baseball game against the Texas Rangers  at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on July 20, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images
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ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reported on Monday that the Angels have received inquiries from multiple teams concerning starter Hector Santiago. He adds that the club is willing to listen to offers. Jon Morosi of FOX Sports and MLB Network reports that the Marlins are among the teams that have inquired.

Santiago, 28, has pitched to a 4.32 ERA with 96 strikeouts and 47 walks in 110 1/3 innings. Sabermetric statistics such as FIP, xFIP, and SIERA think the lefty has pitched even worse than his ERA indicates however, pitting 2016 as his worst performance to date.

Santiago is earning $5 million this season and will enter his third and final year of arbitration eligibility going into 2017.

We also learned earlier that, in an effort to bolster their starting rotation, the Marlins have also shown interest in Wade Miley of the Mariners and Jeremy Hellickson of the Phillies.

Prince Fielder will undergo season-ending neck surgery this week

SEATTLE, WA - JUNE 10: Prince Fielder #84 takes a swing during a game against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on June 10, 2016 in Seattle, Washington. The Mariners won the game 7-5. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
Stephen Brashear/Getty Images
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The Rangers placed DH Prince Fielder on the disabled list last week due to more neck discomfort. On Friday, Fielder met with Dr. Drew Dossett, who performed spinal fusion surgery on Fielder in 2014 for a herniated disk in his neck. Dossett has recommended another procedure, so Fielder will undergo season-ending surgery this week, Jeff Wilson of the Fort-Worth Star Telegram reports.

Fielder was having a rough season, batting .212/.292/.334 with eight home runs and 44 RBI in 370 plate appearances. He played in only 42 games in 2014, but returned in 2015 looking more like his old self. Unfortunately, neck and back issues are notoriously difficult to fix. Hopefully, this upcoming procedure does the trick for Fielder.

Fielder is owed $24 million per season through 2020, with the Tigers paying $6 million of it per season.