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02/17/09 6:20 PM EST

Bonderman: Rogers likely retiring

Tigers right-hander says lefty mentor comfortable at home

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Not only is Jeremy Bonderman keeping in touch with former Tigers teammate Kenny Rogers, he's trying to talk the 44-year-old left-hander into returning for another Major League season. But he doesn't think it's going to work.

"I think he wants to be here," Bonderman said, "but he also wants to be with his family. That's just one of those things. You have to pick which one's more important."

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Bonderman is one of several Tigers over the last month or so to indicate that Rogers has probably called it quits. But none of the others arguably have stayed in touch with Rogers as frequently as Bonderman, for whom Rogers became a mentor of sorts over the last three seasons after signing with Detroit as a free agent following the 2005 season.

"I talk to him quite a bit, actually," Bonderman admitted. "I'm trying to convince him to come back."

Asked how that's going, Bonderman said, "Not too good. He ain't here."

Rogers' absence has been felt early on in Spring Training. Pitchers' fielding practice is a staple of early spring workouts, and Rogers is known for his defense. He's a five-time Gold Glove Award winner, most recently in 2006.

"It stinks," Bonderman said. "We all miss him, but it's part of the game. We still talk to him quite a bit."

Bonderman's expectations on Rogers' future seemingly echo those of others on the club. Pitching coach Rick Knapp said he talked in November with Rogers, who indicated that he was probably retired. Manager Jim Leyland received a voicemail from Rogers this offseason thanking him for everything over the last few years.

Team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski also talked with Rogers over the offseason, though he didn't divulge the details of the conversation.

"I think he's in a position where he's content where he is right now," Dombrowski said last month at TigerFest. "But it's more up to him on what he decides to do with his life, and I don't know if he's made that decision 100 percent."

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.