It feels like we just went through the issue of center fielders being too lazy and not hustling. Last time it was Evan Longoria calling out his teammate for loafing it. With the Dodgers, it looks like one of their coaches said something to center fielder Matt Kemp about his lack of hustle. Kemp was benched on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, causing a local stir. No reason was given for the benching but Ken Gurnick said on Tuesday night it was the result of a disagreement Kemp had with a coach. Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times confirmed Gurnick’s report and added a few details:
In the first inning of the 9-4 victory over the New York Yankees [Saturday], Derek Jeter drew a leadoff walk and stole second base. Because Kemp wasn’t backing up the bag, Jeter was able to advance to third base when catcher Russell Martin made an errant throw.
When Schaefer later reminded Kemp of what he should have done on the play, Kemp responded by saying that he was playing too deep to get there in time. Schaefer told him said that regardless, his duty was to charge in as soon as Martin let go of the ball. That prompted Kemp to tell Schaefer to leave him alone.
Kemp’s too good to let a little thing like that be an issue. As a batter, you can smash a line drive but you can’t help if it gets caught. At least when it comes to backing people up and hustling, that is the one thing you can control. There’s no excuse for Kemp not doing his part regarding those duties.