Kent undergoes knee surgery

Kent undergoes knee surgery

LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers second baseman Jeff Kent underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee on Tuesday morning to repair minor cartilage damage, and the club remains hopeful he can return in as little as two weeks, at least for pinch-hitting.

Kent, 40, had been playing with manageable knee discomfort until Friday night, when the joint locked up as he made a quick movement toward first base while on defense.

"It turned out what we thought it would be," said manager Joe Torre. "It was good news."

No additional problems were discovered during the minimally invasive 20-minute outpatient procedure, performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache at the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopedic Clinic Surgery Center.

According to the club, Kent's knee was in remarkably clean condition, except for a folded flap of torn cartilage that had blocked movement of the joint and was clipped. He will begin rehabilitation in the next day or two.

The likely Hall of Famer is eligible for free agency after this season, however, he has hinted that retirement is more likely as he "nears the finish line."

Kent has been replaced at second base by rookie Blake DeWitt, the Opening Day third baseman who, in effect, is auditioning to replace Kent next year.

"[DeWitt] seems comfortable there," said Torre. "The young man has a lot of confidence. He has a good feel, good instincts. I think he'll do fine."

Shortstop Rafael Furcal, rehabilitating from back surgery in Arizona, is expected to return to Los Angeles this weekend with the hope that he can resume game action around Sept. 20.

Nomar Garciaparra had taken over the shortstop job until last week, but Angel Berroa has started there for the last four games, the last three of which were victories.

"We're going to run with it right now, as long as we're playing well," said Torre. "Nomar and I talked before yesterday's game and after the game. He wanted to know about tomorrow, and I said I was going the same way. He said fine, he'll be ready when we need him."

General manager Ned Colletti said the club scouted David Eckstein, but decided against pursuing or claiming him. He was acquired by Arizona to replace injured second baseman Orlando Hudson.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.