Matt Kemp Not in the Starting Line-Up Wednesday Night

Don Mattingly decides, finally, to give his slumping star a rest

By Tony Castro
|  Wednesday, Apr 17, 2013  |  Updated 8:35 PM PDT
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Slumping Dodger Slugger Matt Kemp Given a Night Off

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Matt Kemp throws his bat down after a pop fly out in the during the third inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks on April 13. Kemp was benched for Wednesday's game against the Padres.

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Dodgers slumping slugger Matt Kemp wasn't in the lineup Wednesday night for the finale of the home stand against the Padres.

Manager Don Mattingly said he was giving his star outfielder a day off, though the Dodgers are off Thursday when they travel cross country for a series starting Friday with the Baltimore Orioles.

So Kemp should be well rested by then, and the day off Wednesday relieved Mattingly of dropping him down in the order and the immediate distraction that might cause.

Kemp, who normally hits well in April, has been mired in the slump that has raised questions of whether he is fully healed from the shoulder injury last year that required season-ending surgery.

But Kemp said Wednesday he is fine physically.

"There's nothing wrong with me," he said. "Everything is fine. It's just hitting, man. I just need to hit. That's it."

He was hitting .185 -- and only .053 with runners in scoring position -- with a slugging percentage of .259 heading into Wednesday's game, most noticeably without any home runs and only four RBIs.

Kemp has also struck out a team-leading 17 times.

Mattingly moved Andre Ethier into Kemp's usual No. 3 spot in the lineup. Skip Schumaker will play center field in place of Kemp.

After Tuesday night's 9-2 rout by the Padres, Mattingly finally acknowledged his concern about Kemp's slump and how his star seemed to be pressing.

"Matt's pressing pretty good. Tonight he seemed really frustrated," Mattingly told reporters after the game. "The game didn't help. It's one of those games that you jump behind early and nothing kind of seems to go your way, and obviously it didn't go good for him."

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