Baseball / Sports

Dodgers' Kemp wants to play every day after he returns

PHOENIX -- Still recovering from ankle surgery, Matt Kemp was restricted from running Friday in the Los Angeles Dodgers' first full-squad workout of the spring. He said he still had no idea when he might play in his first game of the year.

But Kemp was certain of this: He isn't a fourth outfielder.

His demeanor was playful but his words were emphatic.

Smiling and shaking his head, Kemp said, "I'm not a fourth outfielder. We can cut that question off right now. That's the last question you have to ask me. I'm not a fourth outfielder. I'm not going to be a fourth outfielder. I'm here to help my team win and play every day. We can stop right there."

Asked whether the presence of Yasiel Puig, Andre Ethier and Carl Crawford made it easier for him to take his time returning from his injury, Kemp replied, "When it's time for me to come back, I'm going to come back and be the same player I've been in previous years when I was healthy. I don't know where you get this fourth outfielder talk from, man. You all love talking about four outfielders, man. That's like the question of the day every day.

"I think all four of us outfielders feel the same way. None of us are fourth outfielders. Everybody wants to play every day. I won't accept that role. I can't accept that role."

Kemp has been hitting and reported a significant improvement in his left shoulder, which has undergone surgical procedures in each of the last two years.

Last year, Kemp said, "I couldn't really get to the ball. I was cutting my swing off. I couldn't get extension."

After a minor shoulder cleanup over the winter, now he can.

Kemp raised his left arm as if following through on a swing. "When y'all see that go up in the air like that, y'all know something good happened," he said.

Parking prices increase

The price of general-admission parking at Dodger Stadium will increase from $10 to $15 as part of a plan to improve the flow of traffic into the ballpark, Dodgers President Stan Kasten said. The Dodgers will continue offering $10 general-admission parking passes, but only to fans who purchase them in advance.

"The main bottleneck we have is transactions at the gates," Kasten said. "That was the first thing they wanted for us to tackle.

"We don't want to punish anyone who didn't get it in advance. This is in the name of providing an incentive to get your passes in advance."

Last year, the Dodgers experimented with offering free parking for cars with four or more people in them. Kasten said the program had no noticeable effect on traffic and has been discontinued.

(c)2014 Los Angeles Times

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