Dodgers’ Don Mattingly keeps Matt Kemp out of starting lineup
Matt Kemp was not in the Dodgers’ starting lineup Sunday, one day after expressing his anger about being removed from Saturday’s game as part of a double switch.
Manager Don Mattingly called the move “a baseball decision” and said the benching was not disciplinary. Skip Schumaker started in center field and Mattingly said he expected Kemp would return to the lineup Monday.
Kemp did not speak with reporters. Mattingly said he met with Kemp to discuss the move but declined to discuss how Kemp reacted. The manager said he could not say whether his relationship with Kemp was as strong as ever.
“I don’t know,” Mattingly said. “I don’t worry about that part of it. I’m trying to make baseball decisions that are the best for the team. For me, Matt not playing is the best thing for him and the best thing for us.”
Kemp was hitless in six at-bats Friday and Saturday and struck out four times, then appeared as a pinch-hitter Sunday and grounded into a double play. He is batting .260 with two home runs. His .343 slugging percentage ranks as the lowest among Dodgers regulars.
He also has appeared to wince after some swings.
“He’s not injured, or anything like that,” Mattingly said.
Mattingly said Kemp has not told the team about any discomfort in his surgically repaired shoulder. Mattingly said he was told Saturday that the team’s medical staff is about to clear Kemp to increase his weight-training regimen and said he has heard “zero” from the medical staff about the possibility of putting Kemp on the disabled list so he could strengthen the shoulder.
“I wouldn’t really think Matt would want that,” Mattingly said.
Young pitcher starts strong
Julio Urias, a left-handed prospect, made his pro debut Sunday and struck out six of the 11 batters he faced for the Dodgers’ Class-A Great Lakes affiliate.
Urias is 16. The Dodgers signed him out of Mexico in August.
The Dodgers signed 46 amateur players out of Latin America from May 1, 2012, the date new owners took over, through May 15, 2013. That is the most of any major league team.
In the final year under former owner Frank McCourt, from May 1, 2011 to April 30, 2012, the Dodgers signed 15 amateur players from Latin America. That ranked 25th among major league teams; the Chicago Cubs led with 38 signings.
The new owners also have added 14 international scouts, not only in traditional baseball strongholds but in such countries as Italy, Panama and the Netherlands.
“That is a real avenue of opportunity for us,” Dodgers President Stan Kasten said. “We know we don’t have a lot of prospects near in the minor leagues. We have a couple, but not nearly what I want.
“The only way to build up a minor league system, even the draft can take two, three, four, five years, is international. It is a place we can get some advantages, particularly in that we now have scouts that fan out around the globe, in areas where other teams are not represented.”
Playing roster roulette
Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis said he would receive a medical evaluation after he was hit by a pitch Sunday. He did not come out of the game, but his left wrist was seriously swollen after the game. … First baseman-outfielder Scott Van Slyke reported neck stiffness after diving for a ball in Saturday’s game. … The Dodgers plan to activate utilityman Jerry Hairston Jr. on Monday. If no one goes on the disabled list to make room for Hairston, the roster spot of infielder Luis Cruz could be in jeopardy. Cruz, the opening-day third baseman, has played in one game in the last two weeks.
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