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Matt Kemp misses out on All-Star berth

Fourth in final fan voting, outfielder hopes his time will come.

July 10, 2009|Dylan Hernandez

NEW YORK — Matt Kemp said Thursday that to get as close as he did to becoming an All-Star was enough of a reward.

Kemp was fourth in fan voting among the five candidates competing for the final spot on the National League team. Shane Victorino of Philadelphia earned the selection, beating out Pablo Sandoval of San Francisco, Mark Reynolds of Arizona, Kemp and Cristian Guzman of Washington.

"That's something everybody should experience if they can," Kemp said.

Kemp, who is hitting .319 with 10 home runs and 46 runs batted in, said he hoped his day would come.

"It's not my main goal to make the All-Star game, but if I take care of what I have to take care of and play hard, I'm sure I'll be an All-Star one day," Kemp said.

Kemp said he was pleased with the way he has managed to avoid prolonged slumps this season.

"I've been pretty consistent throughout the whole first half," he said. "I think I'm learning a little bit more how to handle it."

Kemp's average hasn't dipped under .300 since May 30. He was eight for 11 in the Dodgers' three-game series in New York.

Manager Joe Torre said that was a credit to Kemp's increased maturity, pointing out how Kemp no longer lets a bad at-bat or game linger in his mind.

"He used to beat himself up a lot," Torre said.

Torre said that the 24-year-old "has a long ways to go," but that his approach to the game should aid his progress.

"He's not afraid to do anything," Torre said. "He'll screw up, but he'll accept the instruction also."

Really? That's it?

The way Manny Ramirez was treated in New York was nothing compared to the way Barry Bonds used to be treated on the road, Dodgers coach Mark Sweeney said.

Sweeney was Bonds' teammate with the Giants in 2006. He said Bonds received louder boos in almost every road game than the ones Ramirez received from the notoriously tough New York fans.

"Maybe people realized there are more worries in the world than this," Sweeney said of performance-enhancing drugs.

But Sweeney said he believed that the main reason the two players were treated differently was because of their personalities.

"Barry kind of didn't really care too much" about the way he was perceived, Sweeney said. "But Manny has the personality where he shrugs his shoulders and gets over it."

Welcome back, kid

Called up from triple-A Albuquerque on Wednesday, Cory Wade was handed the ball by Torre that night -- with one out in the fifth inning and the bases loaded. Wade limited the damage to one run.

Nice welcoming present, huh?

Wade smiled.

His demotion to the minors June 26 was the first of his career.

"I was a little shocked," Wade said. "But you have to suck it up after 24 hours."

Wade gave up two runs in the three innings he pitched over two games in Albuquerque but said he ironed out a mechanical flaw.

"I was wild within the zone," he said. "But the key is that we got it figured out."

Short hops

Reliever Hong-Chih Kuo reported to Albuquerque to start a rehabilitation assignment. Kuo pitched an inning Thursday night, giving up a hit, a walk and a run.


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