Philadelphia Phillies starter Cole Hamels will be in high demand if he hits… (Terry Renna / Associated…)
KANSAS CITY, Mo. —The lockers of Cole Hamels and Clayton Kershaw were next to one another in the National League clubhouse, and Kershaw wasted no time throwing a recruiting pitch at Hamels.
"You'd look good in Dodger blue," Kershaw told him.
Hamels, the premier pitcher eligible for free agency, grew up in San Diego. He said he would be interested in the Dodgers or Angels, although he was not so sure the Angels would be interested in him.
PHOTOS: 2012 Major League Baseball All-Star Game
"The Angels are pretty set, aren't they?" Hamels said.
You never know. Mark Trumbo hit 29 home runs last year, and the Angels signed Albert Pujols to play first base. The Angels have pitchers Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson under contract through 2016, with club options for next season on Dan Haren and Ervin Santana.
The Dodgers have five starters under contract next season — Kershaw, Chad Billingsley, Chris Capuano, Aaron Harang and Ted Lilly — but Kershaw wants the Dodgers' new owners to pursue Hamels.
"I would love to have him there," Kershaw said. "Our whole team would love to have a guy of his caliber. I hope we make a run at him."
Hamels, 28, a three-time All-Star, said Kershaw is far from the only player recruiting him here.
"I've heard from everybody," he said.
PHOTOS: 2012 Major League Baseball Home Run Derby
He said he would prefer to remain with the Philadelphia Phillies but would not limit his options to West Coast teams if he hits free agency.
"Anybody that wants to win, they've got a fair shot," Hamels said.
Matt Kemp has not played since May 30 because of a strained left hamstring and has not hit a home run since April 30. He still leads the Dodgers in home runs.
The Dodgers plan to activate him from the disabled list Friday. Andre Ethier (strained oblique) is scheduled to play minor league rehabilitation games Wednesday and Thursday and could be activated Friday as well.
Kemp has 12 home runs, and Ethier is second with 10. The Dodgers and San Francisco Giants are tied for last in the majors with 51 home runs each; the Dodgers lead the Giants by one-half game in the National League West.
"I feel like we're a better team," Kemp said. "I feel like we're hard to beat when we're playing well. We've got a chance to do some great things if we stay healthy."
Kemp said he enjoyed participating in the Home Run Derby on Monday, even though he failed to get out of the first round for the second consecutive year. He said he did not know whether he would try the derby again.
"I haven't been too good the first two times," he said. "Maybe I'm just good at hitting home runs during games."
Bryce Harper, on his relationship with Mike Trout: "It's like Bird and Magic. I'm Bird."
And this from Harper too: "I hope I play with him one day. Him playing center field and me playing right field, it will be a 1-2 punch."
Chipper Jones, who is retiring after the season, got a standing ovation. He singled in his lone at-bat, lifting his career All-Star game average to .429 (6 for 14).
Off the field
Commissioner Bud Selig said Tuesday he hopes the sale of the San Diego Padres can be completed by next month's owners meetings, but a person familiar with the sale process said he considered that an aggressive timetable. John Moores has agreed to sell the Padres to a group led by the O'Malley family and San Diego businessman Ron Fowler for $800 million, the person said, but the details of the agreement still are being negotiated and have yet to be submitted to the league.… The Dodgers and Angels will play three or four games next season, rather than six. With the Houston Astros moving to the American League West, every division will have five teams, and every team in one division will play every team in one other division.… Players will discuss whether to approve in-season tests for human growth hormone starting next year, union chief Michael Weiner said. Under baseball's drug policy, players are tested for HGH in the off-season and in spring training. … Weiner on Robinson Cano, booed vociferously in Kansas City for not selecting the Royals' Billy Butler for the Home Run Derby: "Robinson Cano grew up in the Dominican. He works in the Bronx. He plays for the Yankees. He'll be fine."