Kendall matches durability mark
Veteran ties franchise record with 121 starts behind plate
PITTSBURGH -- Jason Kendall began his career with the Pirates in 1996.
He recorded the club's first hit when it moved into PNC Park in 2001.
And before being traded in 2004, he ended his Bucs tenure with more games caught (1,205) than anyone in franchise history.
So it's only appropriate that Kendall breaks the Brewers' all-time franchise record for most games started by a catcher in the city where he has broken several records before.
"I really didn't know anything about it until someone brought it up," said Kendall, who tied former Brewers catcher Darrell Porter on Friday night with 121 starts. Kendall will break the record if he starts on Saturday night at PNC Park.
"It's neat because of the history of the Brewers. We'll see how many I can catch and we'll go from there. I'm not worried about records. I just want to win."
Starting over 121 games is nothing new to Kendall. He has appeared in over 130 games in a single season 10 times in his career. In 2001, he played in a career-high 157 games, including 27 in the outfield.
"I've learned how to keep myself in shape," Kendall said. "You have to take care of yourself. But a lot of it is mental. I enjoy playing."
And his Brewers teammates enjoy having him around. Veteran infielder Craig Counsell said the reason Kendall succeeds is because he's "baseball tough."
"He's tough basically in every way," Counsel said. "He's mentally tough. I think he's really able to carry out the game plan the coaching staff puts together for our team. I think his toughness really carries over to everybody. It's a good influence to have around here."
Current bench coach Ted Simmons was second to Porter in games started by a catcher for 26 years. Manager Ned Yost was a backup catcher when Simmons started 120 games behind home plate for the Brewers in 1982.
"It wasn't me," Yost said concerning the record. "I got 98 at-bats one year with Teddy playing every day."
Todd Krise is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.