Dodger Thoughts

Jon Weisman's outlet for dealing psychologically with the Los Angeles Dodgers, baseball and life

Don Mattingly on Matt Kemp: ‘We know it’s gonna get better’

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Clayton Kershaw appears on MTV’s “Off the Bat” tonight at 11 p.m.

Reds at Dodgers, 7:10 p.m.
Dee Gordon, 2B
Carl Crawford, LF
Yasiel Puig, RF
Hanley Ramirez, SS
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Andre Ethier, CF
Drew Butera, C
Chone Figgins, 3B
Zack Greinke, P

By Jon Weisman

For a Dodger team whose defense has been maligned much of 2014, Monday brought a welcome reversal.

Not only did Los Angeles benefit from two key errors by the Reds, leading to three unearned runs, but the Dodger defense was airtight in support of Hyun-Jin Ryu’s perfect game bid.

In particular, Juan Uribe’s understudy, Justin Turner, was sparkling at third, and Erisbel Arruebarrena was smooth at shortstop.

Speaking today, Don Mattingly said he didn’t feel that Monday’s game was unique, but that the defense has been coming together for the past few games. That continues to be a priority, even as the defense-first Arruebarrena returns to the bench to make way for Hanley Ramirez, back into the starting lineup following a four-game absence.

But the biggest discussion point on the team this week remains in the outfield. Matt Kemp took fly balls in left field in early workouts today, but still is on the bench. Mattingly, who said Kemp looked “really good” in that workout,  was grilled about Kemp’s fifth straight game on the sidelines.

“I’m pretty confident (he can return to form),” Mattingly said. “but I’m not the one who has to be confident. I see it at times, (but) Matt’s the one who’s got to.

“You feel good, but you’re not really that confident in how you feel. That’s one of the things … I don’t know if Matt feels that or not. (But) I’m really confident that this guy’s going to have a chance to be just the way he was before.”

ESPN’s Pedro Gomez asked Mattingly about his own experiences as a player coming back from major injuries.

“It was a little rough, honestly, trying to get back into it,” Mattingly said. “For me, it was a matter of trying to find the balance of how much work I could do, feel good, and then if I did too much, then it tipped me over the top. If I didn’t do enough, then I didn’t feel sharp. That’s the biggest key, is trying to find the routine that works for you. … You’re constantly tinkering with your routine, trying to get it right. It took probably a year and a half almost to get my routine right.

“We know it’s gonna get better.”


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1 Comment

  1. oldbrooklynfan

    I have no doubt that Kemp will come around, so long as he’s continued to get playing time. Ethier is doing a magnifcently in CF.
    Kemp has come a long way already after what he’s been through.

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