Matt Kemp responds to GM Ned Colletti's criticism
In defense of Matt Kemp, we offer Matt Kemp. Sort of, anyway.
The frustration over the Dodgers’ disappointing start filtered up after they were swept in Tuesday’s doubleheader by the Mets, with General Manager Ned Colletti calling out his players, Kemp in particular.
Kemp is off to a terrific start at the plate but has misplayed numerous balls in the outfield, and Tuesday reverted back to his earlier baserunning problems -- running from second to third on a ball hit to short with no one on first and less than two outs.
Said Colletti to KABC radio’s Peter Tilden: "Some guys, I guess, think that they're better than they are. They think the opposition's just going to roll over and get beat by them. That obviously doesn't happen.
"The baserunning's below average. The defense is below average. Why is it? Because he got a new deal? I can't tell you."
Wednesday, before the Dodgers’ afternoon game against the Mets, Kemp was irritated and would not respond to criticism of his defense and baserunning, but denied his two-year, $10.95-million contract was impacting his effort.
"The new deal, that has nothing to do with anything," Kemp said. "Of course it's good to make money, but that's not why I started playing this game. I started playing this game because I love the game, and I'm going to continue to love this game.’’
Kemp said his work ethic remains strong and Manager Joe Torre said Kemp often beats him to the ballpark.
"People don't know what goes on," Kemp said. "People don't know what time I show up to the stadium. I'm here, I'm here working, I'm here trying to get ready for the game.
"We work hard. This team works hard. There's nobody on this team who doesn't get to the field early to get their work in, watch videos. Everybody's doing what it takes to win. We're just not putting it all together right now."
-- Steve Dilbeck, with Dylan Hernandez in New York
Photo: Matt Kemp can't make the catch on a double by Adam LaRoche of the Arizona Diamondbacks during the Dodgers' home opener on April 13. Credit: Jeff Gross / Getty Images.