Dodgers president Stan Kasten has been a man of the media these past few weeks about Don Mattingly’s job status and now he’s coming to the defense of star Matt Kemp.
Kemp was booed loudly last night at Dodger Stadium after striking out in four of his five plate appearances and many are speculating that he isn’t fully recovered from off-season shoulder surgery.
On ESPN Radio 710, Kasten was asked about the fans booing Kemp:
“I guess it’s understandable. Poor Matt, he’s trying so hard and it’s not working out for some reason. We don’t know a specific reason for this. He’s taking extra time with our coaches and none of us can identify with someone who was the best player in the game and can’t imagine what he feels like.”
Kemp injured his shoulder last season when he crashed into the center field wall at Coors Field and underwent off-season surgery to repair the damage. The injury wasn’t supposed to hinder his performance this season and last night on Dodger Talk Kevin Kennedy suggested Kemp might be experiencing vision problems.
It’s one thing to strike out and then it’s another when you look completely fooled and lost at the plate as Kemp did and has been for the past couple weeks.
Kasten was asked if he thinks Kemp is injured and if that’s a possible excuse:
“Is he hurt? “Internally we’re all assured that he isn’t. We can’ blame it on that. The doctors, trainers, even Matt have all told us that he isn’t.”
The Dodgers enter play today with a 21-28 record and 7.5 games behind first place Arizona as they try to dig themselves out of an early season hole.
For the season, Kemp is batting .253 with two home runs and 17 RBI’s and after his last strike out last night, he’s now struck out in 12 of his last 22 at-bats.
If the Dodgers are going to succeed Kemp is going to need to wake up and the fans booing him won’t make him feel any better as he continues to press in the lineup.