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Matt Kemp on Ryan Braun: ‘I’m disappointed, I don’t like to get lied to’

Matt-Kemp-Does-Not-Want-MVPAmong the many people that Ryan Braun has cheated by using performance-enhancing drugs, you could argue that Matt Kemp is one of the most significant. The Los Angeles Dodgers slugger had an incredible season in 2011, but Braun was named the NL MVP despite Kemp having more homers, RBI, runs and stolen bases than the scorned Milwaukee Brewers outfielder.

Braun was probably given the honor over Kemp because he led the Brewers to the playoffs, whereas LA was under .500 most of the season before rallying to finish 82-79. On Tuesday, Kemp was asked for his feelings about Braun’s suspension and admission.

“I’m disappointed,” Kemp said via the Los Angeles Times. “I don’t like to get lied to. I don’t think anybody likes to get lied to. I think a lot of other people feel the same way. I’m not the only one in that boat. I’m just another one of those guys on the list that are disappointed in what has come about in the last couple days.”

Kemp supported Braun after the Brewers outfielder failed the initial drug test. He said he considered Braun a friend and believed the Milwaukee star was clean. That’s why he now says he’s disappointed and was “lied to” by Braun.

Though Kemp said at the time that he did not want the MVP if Braun were found guilty of cheating, he was clearly disappointed with the outcome of the vote, as evidenced by his tweet about the voters creating a monster. But Kemp maintains that he still does not want the MVP award even though the man who won it is an admitted cheater.

[Related: Logan Morrison uses Ryan Braun situation to take shot at Marlins]

“I was in a race to win the MVP, I got second. It is what it is,” Kemp said Tuesday. “The voters had an opinion about who they wanted to pick as the MVP. That’s who they picked, that’s who they felt was the MVP. You have to respect them for that.”

Kemp is probably right that you cannot go back and give the award to him, but maybe a note should go down in history to say Braun used performance-enhancing drugs during the MVP season. And as fans and media, we cannot forget that Kemp truly deserved the MVP award that season.

Matt Kemp hurts ankle sliding into home in first game off DL

Matt Kemp really just cannot catch a break. The Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder returned from a shoulder injury on Sunday, and he appeared to hurt himself in his first game back from the disabled list.

The Dodgers were leading the Washington Nationals 9-2 with the bases loaded and two outs in the top of the ninth when Carl Crawford hit into a fielder’s choice. Kemp was on third and loafed it to the plate, but he started to hustle when the throw came home. As he slid into home, his left ankle bent awkwardly as it met catcher Kurt Suzuki’s leg. Kemp left the game and was replaced in center field for the bottom of the ninth. You can really see how much Kemp’s ankle folded on the play:

Matt Kemp ankle

Kemp was having a great game in his return from the DL. He was 3-for-4 with a double, home run and walk. Kemp missed most of June with a hamstring injury, and he missed two weeks in July after aggravating his shoulder. The Dodgers, who tied the Diamondbacks for first in the NL West after winning on Sunday, would hate to lose Kemp for the third time this season.

GIF via The Score
Thanks to A. Liu

Matt Kemp pulled on Saturday, benched on Sunday

Matt Kemp DodgersIt wasn’t that long ago when benching Matt Kemp would have seemed like a crazy idea. Two seasons ago he should have been NL MVP, and last season he posted a .905 OPS in 106 games. He’s one of the most dangerous hitters in the Los Angeles Dodgers’ lineup, so not having him in there seems crazy. But that has not been the case this season.

Kemp has hit .260/.312/.343 in 48 games and only has two home runs. His 14 walks to 54 strikeouts is his worst ratio since his first two seasons in the bigs. He’s hit poorly enough this season where he was actually pulled on Saturday and benched on Sunday.

Kemp struck out with two men on to end the sixth inning with the Dodgers up 4-3 on the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday. He was lifted as part of a double-switch that saw pitcher Kenley Jansen enter the game in his spot and Skip Schumaker replace him in center and bat in the pitcher’s spot. Manager Don Mattingly wanted Jansen to pitch more than one inning (which might result in his spot in the batting order coming up), and Kemp had made the last out, so he subbed him as part of a double-switch.

Kemp was ticked off when he entered the dugout, and he could be seen saying, “The f— is that bulls— about man?” toward Mattingly.

According to ESPN LA, Mattingly said that he saw Kemp’s reaction on replay and was not offended.

Mattingly also benched Kemp on Sunday to give the outfielder a day off against a tough pitcher. Mattingly noted that right-handed hitters are only batting .177 against Shelby Miller and decided that was a good time to give Kemp a break. Kemp did get a pinch-hit at-bat in the game and went 0-for-1.

Benching Kemp and Andre Ethier could make Mattingly less popular among some players, but he says he’s not concerned about that.

I’m not really questioning Mattingly at this point. The Dodgers are 20-28 and he’s trying to shake things up to get results. It’s just surprising that Kemp and Ethier, who have been the Dodgers’ most reliable hitters the past handful of seasons, are now getting benched.

Matt Kemp donating $1,000 for every home run to Oklahoma tornado relief

Oklahoma-tornado

Those of you who have been following the disaster that took place in Moore, Oklahoma on Monday have likely seen some of the heartbreaking images of the damage that was left behind by a massive tornado. The twister pulverized roughly 40 square miles and left a hospital, two elementary schools, and hundreds of homes and business in pieces. Dozens were killed and hundreds were injured.

Matt Kemp is planning to do what he can to help.

Kemp, who grew up in Oklahoma and attended high school there, likely felt the sting from the disaster on a more personal level. We saw the Dodgers star’s generosity on full display earlier this month after a game in San Francisco, so his pledge isn’t a surprise. That doesn’t make it any less admirable.

Kemp has only two home runs this season, but history tells us he’s bound to heat up. The state of Oklahoma will need all the help it can get to get back on its feet.

Matt Kemp gives his hat, jersey, cleats and autographed ball to cancer-stricken fan (Video)

Matt-Kemp-gives-jersey-to-fanThe Los Angeles Dodgers visited AT&T Park for a series against the San Francisco Giants over the weekend, and Matt Kemp made the most of his cross-state trip. The All-Star outfielder went 4-for-14 at the plate with two RBI and two runs scored, but what we’re talking about has nothing to do with baseball.

As you can see from the video that Vin Scully is My Homeboy passed along (via Hardball Talk), Kemp approached disabled fan Joshua Jones after the game was over and showered him with gifts. He autographed a baseball and gave it to the young man before taking off his hat, jersey and cleats and handing them all to the fan. The YouTube video was posted by one Jones’ best friend, who described Kemp as a “great person.”

Dodgers third base coach Tim Wallach deserves credit as well. Wallach talked with the boy’s father before the game and alerted Kemp about him. Kemp kept the boy in mind when the game ended.

Jones, who was wearing a Dodgers hooded sweatshirt, has cancer and is not expected to live much longer. He also is unable to speak.

What makes a moment like this so special is that Kemp was not doing it because ESPN cameras were rolling and he wanted publicity. He did it to make a fan’s day. Kemp also said he wanted to do what he could to help the fan because of a bad experience he had when he was younger; he says he was snubbed for an autograph by his favorite player.

We’re sure he made the young man’s day. Class act.

Matt Kemp to Carlos Quentin: ‘We’ll see, bitch’

Matt Kemp Clayton Richard

The Dodgers and Padres didn’t just fight on the field Thursday, they also had some words after the game ended.

Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp, who was ejected for his role in the benches-clearing brawl, got into it with Carlos Quentin after the game. The confrontation reportedly occurred by the tunnel outside the locker rooms.

The Mighty 1090′s Marty Caswell says the two were nose-to-nose before being separated by San Diego pitcher Clayton Richard (pictured). Their words were not pleasant.

According to the Los Angeles Times’ Dylan Hernandez, at one point Kemp said to Quentin, “We’ll see, bitch.”

Kemp was asked by reporters about the implications of the brawl between the teams.

“Will there be bad blood between these two teams? I don’t know,” said Kemp.

He also had harsh words for Quentin.

“I think Carlos Quentin went to Stanford…I heard there’s some smart people at Stanford. That wasn’t too smart,” he said of the slugger’s decision to charge the mound on Zack Greinke, per U-T San Diego’s Dennis Lin.

Yeah, I can only imagine what it will look like the next time these teams play. We’ll set the over/under line at two batters plunked.

One thing that must not go overlooked is that the Matt Kemp memes were STRONG after the game. Take a look:

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Matt Kemp: Yasiel Puig might have more power than me

Yasiel PuigYasiel Puig has been torching the ball this spring and now has several supporters in the Los Angeles Dodgers’ clubhouse. One of his biggest supporters is Matt Kemp, who thinks the 22-year-old Cuban outfielder will be up with the big club before too long.

Kemp recently raved about Puig, comparing the 6-foot-3, 245-pound outfielder to Bo Jackson.

“I think he’s way stronger than me,” Kemp told The Los Angeles Times’ Dylan Hernandez. “He might have more power than me.

“He’s a monster, man,” Kemp said of Puig. “He’s big. When everybody sees him, they think about Bo Jackson. Puig is a five-tool athlete that can do a lot in the big leagues and help our team one of these days.”

Bo Jackson? More power than Kemp? We’re talking about two All-Stars and two of the more impressive athletes the sport has seen. Kemp even hit 39 home runs in 2011.

The Dodgers signed Puig, a Cuban defector, to a seven-year, $42 million contract last June. He hit .354 in 82 at-bats last season split between the Dodgers’ rookie and single-A teams. That included five home runs and a 1.076 OPS.

Puig has been even more impressive this spring.

Puig is 19-for-42 (.452) in 20 spring games, adding three doubles and two home runs. His OPS is a robust 1.109, though there are some concerns with his 10 strikeouts and no walks. The Dodgers have Carl Crawford, Kemp, and Andre Ethier slotted to fill the outfield. Unless one of them vastly underperforms or gets hurt, the Dodgers might have difficulty finding a spot for Puig. But if the youngster continues to crush the ball, they’ll find a way to get him at-bats, and they could consider trading one of their other outfielders to make room for him.

Below is video of a 3-run home run Puig hit at the beginning of spring training:

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