Jason Kendall, who was expected to soon begin a rehab assignment in the minors, has instead suffered a major setback with his shoulder and will undergo another surgery.
Manager Ned Yost said the procedure would knock him for the rest of this year and perhaps all of next season, potentially ending Kendall’s career.
Kendall first hoped to return in April after undergoing surgery to repair his rotator cuff last September, but his shoulder never proved strong enough. He resumed hitting last month, and the hope was that he’d begin catching in the minors this month.
The 37-year-old Kendall probably won’t go down without a fight, so even if he is ruled out for next year, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him show up in camp with some club in 2013. However, if his shoulder is shot, then he’s not going to be of any use to a major league team. He hasn’t been a decent hitter in five years, and all of the leadership in the world won’t make him worth a roster spot if he’s not going to be a throw out a would-be basestealer now and again.
Kendall, once one of the game’s best catchers with Pirates, is a lifetime .288/.366/.378 hitter with 75 homers and 189 steals in 15 seasons. He ranks fifth all-time with 2,025 games caught.