Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Training Camp Report He's Mr. Clutch for Goldeyes
Kendall's three-year-old daughter inspires him on, off field
Price KENDALL has a reminder on his bat to make every day count.
Kendall, shortstop of the Winnipeg Goldeyes, has carved his three-year-old daughter Aryanna's initials -- ANK -- into the big stick he makes his living with. It's both a reminder of what's important and a motivator to stay the course.
"I don't play baseball for myself. When you're in a position to get paid to do something you love, if you're in it for selfish reasons, it's not going to work out for you," said Kendall as the Goldeyes' 2012 training camp continued Wednesday at Shaw Park. "I play for my family, my friends, other individuals I grew up with who didn't get the opportunities I did, my teammates. It's so much more than a game. To me, baseball mirrors life."
Kendall is expected to be the team's everyday shortstop this season and build on last season when he was named the 2011 American Association rookie of the year and posted career numbers such as his .324 batting average.
Three years ago, Price Kendall found himself out of college, out of baseball and forced out of his baby daughter's life when he and his daughter's mother split up.
"After I had my daughter, I dropped out of school, stopped playing baseball, found a job as a retail consultant at AT&T. As soon as you have children, they come first," said Kendall. "I loved being a father. When that's taken from you, it's tough."
He said he decided it was time to pull himself together.
"I came back to California and realized I had nothing to show for five years on and off in college. I had a scholarship and lost that opportunity, lost baseball and most importantly, lost my daughter. That's when I knew I had to make some changes in my life," said Kendall.
"I've always known I could play baseball. I love baseball, and after going through my situation with my daughter, I was kind of lost. That's when I thought, what has always taken me places? That's baseball. I decided to start training again and went down to the tryout (Arizona) where Rick invited me here to Winnipeg."
During his breakout season in 2011, Kendall exceeded everyone's expectations but his own and Goldeyes manager Rick Forney.
"He gives you a pretty experienced at-bat for a guy that doesn't have any experience. Last year he may have been one of the better hitters in the league batting with two strikes," Forney said of Kendall who had a .377 average when batting with two out and runners in scoring position. "He knows what makes him succeed as a hitter, he stays wtihin his approach. Price Kendall gives you everything he has every day."
After playing 48 games and hitting .302 in 2010, Kendall started the 2011 season at shortstop but moved to second base for 85 of his 100 games when Wes Long was hurt. Since a player's first full season in the AA doesn't count toward his status, Kendall was officially a rookie last season and became the first rookie to lead the Goldeyes in hits with 135.
"I've been surrounded by so many great veteran guys here in Winnipeg and the confidence that Rick and Tom (hitting coach Vaeth), I've just learned and learned. Last year, around July, it just clicked," said Kendall, who along with wife Marcy whom he recently married, live in Daly City, Calif., where she is a social worker in the public defender's office. They are in the process of trying to gain full custody of his daughter who is with her mom in Illinois.
"When I look back over the previous two seasons, everything that I went through was leading me up to this year to really do something special," Kendall said.
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 10, 2012 C4
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