Matt Kemp was once a Los Angeles Dodgers’ superstar that was on the verge of being the best player in baseball. After hitting 39 home runs, driving in 126 runs and scoring 115 times in 2011 — all league-highs– Kemp has battled injuries and off-field drama.
After his breakout 2011 season the center fielder signed an eight-year contract worth $160 million that he has yet to live up to because of the injuries.
Despite his past troubles Kemp is looking forward and feeling confident about regaining his superstar form via Robert Morales of the Long Beach Press-Telegram:
Oh, I’m not worried about it,” he said, emphatically. “I know I’m going to be back to where I need to be as far as stealing a lot of bases and hitting home runs, driving in runs. I’m going in the right direction now.”
Kemp has had nagging hamstring issues and shoulder surgeries that have resulted in multiple trips to the disabled list and a loss of power at the plate. He has also had problems defensively in center field that resulted in a move to left field. The 29-year-old did not agree with the move initially, but has embraced the move and made the best of it.
The Dodger left fielder has struggled at times this season, but has picked up his play as of late going 14-for-33 (.424) with a home run and eight RBIs while manning left field in Carl Crawford’s absence.
Manager Don Mattingly also commented on Kemp, saying he’s confident he can return to form soon:
I’m confident,” Mattingly said. “It’s still there. He’s swinging the bat good. He looks good.”
Kemp also said that his body feels fine this season and knows that its going to take some time if he wants to return to his 2011 form. If Kemp can do anything close to what he did that year its going to be vital for the Dodgers success this season and future.
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