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DODGERS FYI

Dodgers' Matt Kemp isn't worried about spring batting

Neither the center fielder nor Manager Don Mattingly is concerned about his 26 strikeouts coming into the regular season. 'Matt doesn't lose confidence very easily,' Mattingly says.

April 04, 2012|By Jim Peltz
  • Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp tosses his bat after striking out during an exhibition game against the Chicago White Sox on March 29. Kemp has gone down swinging 26 times in spring training.
Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp tosses his bat after striking out during… (Christian Petersen / Getty…)

On the eve of opening day, slugger Matt Kemp said he was not worried about his relatively high number of strikeouts this spring.

"Not at all," said Kemp, who was nearly the National League's most valuable player last year after hitting 39 home runs and driving in 126 runs. "I feel good; that's all that matters."

The center fielder, who did not play in Wednesday's final exhibition game against the Angels, batted .262 this spring (17 for 65). He struck out 26 times.

Manager Don Mattingly said he was not fretting about Kemp's strikeout total, either.

"It would concern me if the guy loses confidence, and Matt doesn't lose confidence very easily," Mattingly said, adding that "Matt's really close. He had some good swings last night."

He also took note of Kemp's attitude.

"I worry if it was like [the player said], 'I'll be fine, don't worry about it,' and was not working" to improve, Mattingly said. Kemp, though, was "wanting to look at video, he's wanting to hit extra [times]. When I get that, I don't worry."

Kemp recently taped a guest appearance on "Sesame Street" in Hollywood.

"I loved it," Kemp said. "I think everybody as a kid grew up watching 'Sesame Street.' For me to be on the show and get to hang out with all the characters, it was fun."

Making the team

The Dodgers' season opener will be particularly special for infielder Justin Sellers and reliever Josh Lindblom, who will make their first big league opening-day appearances after winning the last two roster spots.

"Words really can't describe how I feel," said Sellers, who like Lindblom got the news after Tuesday night's exhibition game against the Angels.

"It took a little while for me to comprehend it, but once I settled down I was just so happy," Sellers said. "Being called up [last year] was cool, but to make a team out of camp is very special to me."

Lindblom called it a milestone in his young career and said, "having the honor of being able to break [camp] with the team is an awesome feeling."

Infielders Josh Fields and Luis Cruz and left-handed reliever Scott Rice were reassigned to triple-A Albuquerque.

The Dodgers open the season Thursday in San Diego in a 4 p.m. game, and their home opener is Tuesday against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Free viewing of opener

For the first time, the Dodgers invited fans to watch the season opener on the big video screen at Dodger Stadium. The event and parking are free. Gates open at 3 p.m.

The Dodgers also said non-alcoholic beverages and concessions would be priced at $4 or less and a 15% discount would be applied to Dodgers merchandise on sale Thursday.

james.peltz@latimes.com

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