One of the bigger stories from the Los Angeles Dodgers this past week was the change in the outfield for former Gold Glover Matt Kemp.
Kemp was out of the starting lineup for five games following a game in New York in which he struggled defensively. During his time on the bench it was announced that the team would try him in left field and leave Andre Ethier in center field.
Today, manager Don Mattingly went on The Herd With Colin Cowherd on ESPN Radio and discussed if he had any concerns about the transition:
You know other than just getting out there and getting comfortable. That’s the biggest concern.
Mattingly also went on to describe what the hardest part will be for his 29-year-old outfielder:
It’s just a matter of him buying in. It’s tough, the guy’s an All-Star center fielder and Gold Glover. To be asked to be moved to left field, it’s a little bit of a punch to the gut but we feel like it’s the best thing for the team.
That idea of putting aside ego and pride for the team has been a constant motto for the outfielders this season. Earlier in the season, Mattingly would mix and match Kemp, Ethier, Carl Crawford, Yasiel Puig and Scott Van Slyke before settling on Kemp in center and Puig in right. Kemp failed to take over the position and there was concern by the coaching staff that he was hesitant in center field, prompting the benching and position change.
Last night, Kemp started his first game in left field since 2006 after Crawford was placed on the disabled list with an ankle sprain. He will remain there for the majority of the time that Crawford is out and will likely sit against left-handed pitchers in favor of Scott Van Slyke. While Kemp has stated that he will do what is best for the team, it will take some time for the change to settle.
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