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Dodgers-Yankees or not, Joe Torre sits Matt Kemp

June 27, 2010 |  4:48 pm


Matt Kemp has brought a certain consistency to the slumping business. He’s been out of whack at the plate, on the field and running the bases.

So on Sunday, Manager Joe Torre sat him, whether the Dodgers were playing the Yankees on national television or not.

"He’s played a lot, so I just decided to give him a day [off]," Torre said.

It was only the second game this season Kemp has not started. Kemp did not start June 13 against the Angels, though he later played. He was in an 0-for-16 skid then.

Since a sizzling start, Kemp has been unable to find any consistency at the plate, continuing to feed the feeling he tries too much to get by on his great athleticism.

For the month of June, he’s hit only .196. He has one home run in his last 22 games. He’s batting .211 in 14 interleague games. Then there’s his baserunning and fielding miscues.

Torre was upset after Kemp was picked off second base in the ninth inning in Anaheim on Wednesday, but was careful not to criticize him Sunday.

"He’s played pretty much every day and faced some good pitching, and he’s still young and still developing," Torre said. "We really haven’t given him a rest that often, so he’s never had a chance to really regroup."

Asked if he was concerned about Kemp’s decline, Torre said: "He’s unpredictable, let’s put it that way. Any time he can jump up and hit a home run because of his tools. There are no rules on how consistent young players are going to be until they get enough time in.’’

What’s enough time? Using youth as an excuse for Kemp has worn thin. He’s 25 and in his fourth major league season.

Regroup or re-circle the wagons? Or could this just be the player Kemp is?

--Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp tosses his bat after lining out to third base against the Angels on Wednesday. Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times