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Matthew James Kent
- Bats Left, Throws Right
- Height 6' 3", Weight 215 lb.
Matthew Kent has played for the Australian national team several times.
Kent debuted in 1998 with the AZL Mariners, hitting .225/.263/.258. He made his debut in his homeland in the 1998-1999 Australian Baseball League, going 2 for 23 with a walk and a double for the Melbourne Reds. In 1999, Kent batted .227/.281/.378 for the AZL M's, serving as their most-used catcher. He concluded his run in the Seattle Mariners chain in 2000, hitting .212/.235/.313 for the Everett AquaSox.
Kent then went to the independent leagues, hitting .227 and slugging .299 for the 2001 Kalamazoo Kings. In '02, he batted .263 and slugged .367 for Kalamazoo. Kent hit .348 for the Victoria Aces in the 2003 Claxton Shield. In his third year with the Kings, Kent batted .284 and slugged .392. Kent was injured that season and did not play in 2004.
In the 2005 Claxton Shield, Matthew hit .148/.179/.370 for Victoria. He batted .419/.457/.645 with 9 RBI in 7 games for the 2006 Aces. That earned him a spot on Australia's team for the 2006 World Baseball Classic. He was 0 for 4 with two strikeouts, splitting catching duties with Michael Collins and Andrew Graham.
The Boston Red Sox then signed Kent, who hit .136/.175/.200 in 35 games for the Wilmington Blue Rocks and going 0 for 3 with a walk with the Pawtucket Red Sox. During the 2006 Intercontinental Cup, Kent produced at a .276/.276/.414 rate as Australia's starting catcher. He also threw out 3 of 4 attempted base thieves. In 2007, he hit .379/.424/.690 for Victoria. He was named MVP while leading his club to a title.
Back in the indies for '07, Kent hit .285/.310/.410 for the El Paso Diablos with 30 doubles. Kent returned to the Australian squad for the 2007 Baseball World Cup, in which he batted .316/.381/.526. In 8 games, he had no passed balls or errors and he threw out the only runner who tried to steal against him. His best game was a 5-for-6 outing against the Thai national team.
Kent hit .327/.352/.429 with 8 runs and 8 RBI in the 2008 Claxton Shield. In the 2008 Final Olympic Qualification Tournament, the Melbourne native was 5 for 9, one of Australia's top performers, but the team failed to win a spot in the 2008 Olympics.
Kent's batting line for El Paso in 2008 read .289/.314/.437. He skipped the 2009 Claxton Shield, his first absence in 7 years.