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Dodgers' Matt Kemp named National League player of the month

Dodgers' Matt Kemp named National League player of the month
Matt Kemp gestures toward the sky after hitting a solo home run in the first inning of a game Sunday against the Colorado Rockies. (Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

Matt Kemp doesn't need confirmation from you, me or Major League Baseball to know he's come a long way from the player who has returned from three surgeries.

Not that it's a bad thing.

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Kemp received a tad more confirmation about how he's turned things around anyway on Tuesday when he was named the National League player of the month for September.

"Awards are always nice, but for me, it's bigger than that," Kemp said. "You don't play these games for awards. Awards are nice.

"But the main award is health, and at the end the award that everybody wants is a World Series. Individual awards are nice but that World Series would mean a lot to me and a lot to everybody in this clubhouse."

Kemp, 30, had been showing signs that he was healthy and approaching the player who came in second in voting for the NL most valuable player in 2011, but then he finished with a flourish in September. In the final month of the season Kemp hit .322 (29 for 90), led the majors with nine home runs, had seven doubles and tied with teammate Adrian Gonzalez with a baseball-best 25 RBI.

This year he heads into the postseason on a roll. Last October he had left ankle surgery and had to roll his foot around.

"I think around this time I had one of those scooters, so I wasn't the happiest person in the world," Kemp said. "To come from where I was to where I am now, it's definitely a blessing."

This is the second player of the month award (April 2012) for Kemp. He finished the 2104 season hitting .287 with 25 home runs, 28 doubles and 89 RBI in 541 at-bats.

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