Kent to retire; is Hall of Fame next?

Jeff Kent, who built a strong Hall of Fame case while setting the Major League Baseball record for career home runs by a second baseman, will formally announce his retirement Thursday at Dodger Stadium, the Los Angeles Dodgers said.

Kent's 351 career home runs as a second baseman are 74 more than Ryne Sandberg's total.

Kent spent 17 years in the majors -- the last four with the Dodgers -- tying for 20th on baseball's all-time list with 560 doubles, while ranking 47th with 1,518 RBIs and 62nd with 377 home runs.

His career batting average is .290. He drove in more than 100 runs eight times and had at least 20 home runs in a season 12 times.

He won the National League MVP award with the San Francisco Giants in 2000, made five All-Star teams and won four Silver Slugger awards at second base.

Kent hit .253 during the first half of last season with the Dodgers, improved to .353 in August, then injured his knee on Aug. 29 and had surgery four days later. He returned to make the postseason roster, but was relegated to a bench role. He went a combined 0-for-9 with four strikeouts during the two playoff series and became a free agent in November.

He will be replaced by Blake DeWitt, who had taken over at second base after Kent was injured.

Kent began his professional career after being drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in 1989. He also played for the Mets, Indians, Giants and Astros before joining the Dodgers.

His greatest success came with the Giants, where he played with Barry Bonds. The two players had some famous run-ins, and Kent later tangled with Milton Bradley in Los Angeles. Kent was known for his intense approach to the game and he endorsed improved testing, criticizing players who used performance-enhancing drugs.

He made his only World Series appearance with San Francisco in 2002, hitting three homers as the Giants lost to the then-Anaheim Angels in seven games.

In recent seasons, Kent had expressed interest in spending more time with his family, which includes four children.

Information from The Associated Press and ESPN.com baseball writer Jerry Crasnick was used in this report.