Padres News: Matt Kemp Among First To Report for Spring Training


Wait, you mean we finally begin to start talking about baseball?

What a relief! Certainly it has been an exciting off-season for the San Diego Padres – and several other teams in baseball for that matter – and now it’s time for the rubber to meet the road.

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There are those out there who are worrying about the Padres chemistry. Those that worry about their outfield defense, lack of a lead-off hitter, and wondering who’s on first. Now all those questions start to get answers and it is just a matter of if those answers are good enough to win the division. Health is a big factor as well, with the Padres first big splash Matt Kemp among several players reporting early for spring training as reported by Corey Brock.

I’ve written several times this off-season about the Padres need for a veteran to step up and lead this team to help bring cohesiveness. Matt Kemp is target number one on that list, and subsequently I am excited to see that he led the charge in reporting early for spring training. He finished last season on a strong note, and is likely hoping to get back into that groove he found himself in the second half sooner than later with the Padres in 2015. Kemp had this to say about changing uniforms for the first time in his career since being drafted by the Dodgers in 2003:

"“It’s fun to be with a new team and that they’ve put their faith in you to win some ballgames. I’m up for the challenge, I’ve been working hard in the offseason. I’m ready to get on the field with my new teammates and get ready for these 162 games and more.”"

Certainly the Padres are looking forward to having him as well. Kemp figures to be the starting right-fielder for the Padres with Will Myers in center-field who has drawn the most criticizm of his defense. Yet Kemp is no spring chicken either. He struggled with the Dodgers in center-field last year, forcing them to put the enigmatic Yasiel Puig in center-field. This year with Kemp gone Puig moves back to right and the center -field is being handed to rookie Joc Pederson on a platter.

Kemp also remarked on the fact that there were several other former Dodgers in camp, “I’ve played against a lot of these guys before and there are some former Dodgers in here.  But it’s going to be a little different. I’m enjoying myself so far.” No word yet on when Carlos Quentin is planning on moseying into camp, but certainly there doesn’t seem to be love lost between Kemp and Quentin from their 2012 brawl at Petco Park. Padres fans are still hoping that an American League team will take Quentin’s $8M salary and bad knees for a DH position. Spring Training games start soon, and Matt Kemp is making sure he’ll be ready to prove to the doubters that the end of 2014 wasn’t a fluke and that he is ready to lead the Padres to the promised land of the playoffs in 2015.

Next: Why Ruben Amaro Told The Padres No On Cole Hamels

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