Not only has the July deadline acquistion of Manny Ramirez been an obvious catalyst for the Dodgers claiming a share of the NL West, but even the not-given-to-hyperbole Vin Scully has noted Jeff Kent’s increased production since Ramirez began hitting in front of the grumpy second baseman.  Ramirez, Kent insisted to the LA Times’ TJ Simers, “was only hitting .300 in Boston with 20 home runs. And he’s doing way better than that here — so I’m helping Manny.”

“Listen, I’m so tired of talking about this stuff. It diminishes my whole career and all the hard work. I take it as an insult.

“I’m 40. You don’t get better when you are 40.”

Kent’s batting average has increased by more than 20 points in the past 10 days since hitting third. Manny being Manny has rejuvenated Kent. It’s so much fun telling him that.

“It’s so pathetic,” he said. “You guys write about things happening in a week’s time. That’s why we don’t like you. Baseball is a six-month game.”

That might work if everyone was writing for their high school annual.

“What did I hit last year? Without Manny? How do you explain that? What’s my career average? What will I be hitting at the end of this season?”

“I’ve been here four years and I have never seen Vin Scully down here in the clubhouse,” Kent said. “How does Vin Scully know me? How does Vin Scully know Derek Lowe?”

That prompted a whelp from Lowe, loud enough so maybe Scully might hear. “Don’t get me in this one,” he said. “Make it Brad Penny, or Russell Martin. Not me. I’m just sitting here watching the steeplechase. I’m not in this one.”

“Everyone says I’m hitting now because some guy says so on TV?” Kent says, and first time someone has ever called Scully “some guy.”