Matt Kemp said he was pleased to hear Ryan Braun was successful in appealing his positive drug test from last year.
“I was happy that he was not found guilty,” Kemp said. “I know he’s been going through a lot. Now, he and the Brewers can concentrate on just playing baseball, going about their business.”
Kemp finished second in MVP voting last season to the Milwaukee Brewers outfielder, who avoided a 50-game suspension.
“I didn’t vote for who was supposed to get MVP,” Kemp said. “The writers voted. I didn’t win. I still feel the same way. I was a little disappointed that I didn’t win. You turn the page and I’ll get ready for this season and try to have an even better season than I did last year.”
Kemp said he hasn’t spoken to Braun, whom he has called “a friend.”
“I’m sure I’ll see him in spring training,” Kemp said. “We play them a couple of times this spring training, so I’ll chat it up with him like we always do.”
Kemp didn’t share his thoughts on reports that Braun escaped punishment on a technicality. Braun’s lawyers argued that his urine sample was not handled correctly, according to multiple reports.
“I don’t know how any of that works,” Kemp said. “I don’t get into any of that, man. All I know is that he gets to play and help his team win as many games as he can.”
One of Kemp’s former teammates, Manny Ramirez, was suspended for violating baseball’s policy in 2009. When hearing of Braun’s reported defense, did Kemp wonder why Ramirez hadn’t tried to employ a similar strategy?
Kemp laughed and shook his head.
“I don’t know,” he said. “I don’t know.”
-- Dylan Hernandez in Phoenix
Photo: Matt Kemp. Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times.