Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Kemp: Right In, Rather Than Left Out

Matt Kemp started Monday's game in right field, and to his credit (unlike Kemp's agent), Kemp was saying all the right things prior to the game:

“I’m just happy to be in the lineup,” Kemp said to The Times’ Dylan Hernandez in Pittsburgh.

“It’s just another position to play.”

It seems clear, however, the Dodgers are determined to let Kemp know they very much do not envision him a center fielder. The easy thing Monday would have been to send Andre Ethier back home to right and start Kemp in center; Carl Crawford is starting in left.

Center is the more glamorous, demanding position and where Kemp still sees himself, even if the Dodgers have seen enough of him making poor jumps and routes on balls up the middle.

Sunday in St. Louis he made another bad jump on one ball, starting back on a drive in front of him and letting it drop for a hit, but then making a terrific diving stop of another on his next ball. If possible, he sometimes seems almost awkwardly athletic.

But with Puig out, tonight Kemp slides over to right. Kemp is hitting only .229 (11 for 48) this month but had two hits Sunday. And, as ever, the hope remains he can approximate his offensive form of 2011.

I don't think it's necessarily clear that the Dodgers don't want Kemp in center field. I think they're just trying everyone in this crowded outfield out a bit, before making decisions that they'll have to make sooner or later. At least Kemp has his head in the game and is saying the right things.


Hideo Nomo said...

Happy "Chase Headley is out of the NL West" Day!

Fred's Brim said...

I will miss Spank's "Headley"

Fred's Brim said...

Showcasing Kemp in right isn't the worst thing either