This week in Dodgers news, Don Mattingly plays musical chairs with his outfielders. Matt Kemp has made the shift over to left field after Mattingly benched him for five games and replaced him with Andre Ethier. The move comes coincidentally at the same time that Carl Crawford sprained his ankle while chasing down a leadoff double against the Reds at Dodgers Stadium.
Scott Van Slyke replaced Crawford during the game, but since then Matt Kemp has been working on getting comfortable in the new position. Crawford has officially been placed on the 15-day DL with Mattingly commenting that his injury “doesn’t look good.” Ethier also remarked on the outfield transition to MLB.com saying,
“Right when you think things are settling in, something happens.”
As for Matt Kemp, Don Mattingly understands how Kemp must feel and told Colin Cowherd on ESPN Radio,
“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.”
Mattingly is confident that Kemp can get back to the level he used to play at but his biggest concern is that he’s comfortable playing in left field.
Kemp doesn’t seem too happy about Mattingly’s decisions and reportedly has expressed his frustration privately. But, when asked about the switch, Mark Saxon reported him saying, “Like I said, it doesn’t matter what I think. I just want to go out there and play baseball, man. That’s all that matters.”
Is it time Matt Kemp puts his ego aside? What about his future in the outfield – can he be that All-Star player he used to be?