LOS ANGELES--Playing in his home stadium Wednesday night, Matt Kemp was on foreign land.
Kemp was in left field.
"Weird, you know?" Kemp said. "Different."
The last time he was there was as a 21-year-old rookie in 2006.
For the most part, the Los Angeles Dodgers' 3-2 defeat to the Cincinnati Reds was relatively uneventful for Kemp, who was starting in place of a sidelined Carl Crawford.
Todd Frazier smashed a line drive over his head in the sixth inning that few left fielders would have caught. Frazier doubled and later scored on a wild pitch by Clayton Kershaw to extend the Reds' lead to 3-1.
The only ball hit to him before that was in the first inning, when Frazier doubled into the left field corner. Kemp did what he was supposed to do, collecting the ball and throwing it back to the infield.
Kemp fielded another ball hit into the corner in the seventh inning, a double by Billy Hamilton.
At the plate, Kemp was 0 for four with two strikeouts.
His body language was noticeably downcast.
He rarely smiled. He barely interacted with his teammates.
Kemp used to pride himself in playing center field, one of baseball's glamour positions. But he was told by Manager Don Mattingly last week he would no longer be the team's every day player there.
He didn't play in any of the Dodgers' last five games. If Crawford was still healthy, the streak could have extended to six games.
"You'll never know," Mattingly said. "Carl got hurt."
Kemp started taking fly balls at his new position Monday.
"It's a little different," Kemp said. "Just angles and slices and all that. I'll figure it out."
He didn't have much time. Crawford sprained his left ankle Tuesday night.
"I think I'm still a pretty good athlete," Kemp said. "I think I'll be OK."
This day was as difficult for Kemp as it was wonderful for Jamie Romak.
Called up from triple-A Albuquerque to replace Crawford on the active roster, the 28-year-old Romak was in a major league clubhouse for the first time.
He played 1,069 minor league games over 12 seasons waiting for the call he received Wednesday morning from Albuquerque Manager Damon Berryhill.
Asked what that moment was like, Romak couldn't produce an answer.
He laughed again.
"This is how I answered the phone," he said. "I didn't know what to say. Nothing really came out. I thought he was messing around with me."
"Once I sunk in, it was really emotional," he said. "I couldn't get a hold of my wife, but I called my mom. She started crying and I started tearing up. It was everything you'd wish it would be."
Romak, who was born and raised in Canada, played primarily third base at Albuquerque. He can also play first base, as well as right and left field.
He made his major league debut, pinch hitting for Clayton Kershaw in the seventh inning and grounding out to second base.
The Dodgers promoted Romak instead of their top prospect, Joc Pederson.
The 22-year-old Pederson was batting .347 with 15 home runs and 32 runs batted in through Tuesday.
"We don't feel like it's the right time right now for Joc," Mattingly said. "You don't want to bring up a kid that's developing and not play him every day."
Shortstop Erisbel Arruebarrena is also developing as a player, but Mattingly indicated he could remain with in the major leagues even though Hanley Ramirez has returned to the lineup.
"I think the one thing you like about Erisbel is that you have a true backup shortstop," Mattingly said. "Erisbel gives us the option to give Hanley a day (off)."
Arruebarrena could also replace Ramirez late in a game to protect a lead late, according to Mattingly.
"I don't want to knock Hanley, but the kid's special at short," Mattingly said.
Mattingly compared Arruebarrena's defense to Gold Glover Andrelton Simmons'.
As for Arruebarrena's growth as an offensive player, Mattingly said, "There's development that goes on here, just like there would be down there."
Reds 3, Dodgers 2
KEY MOMENT: Dee Gordon drew a four-pitch walk off Manny Parra to lead off the eighth inning. Gordon leads the major leagues in steals, but Manager Don Mattingly didn't have him to attempt to steal second base. Instead, Mattingly sacrificed an out by having Andre Ethier bunt him over. With one out and Gordon on second, Reds Manager Bryan Price called on former Dodgers closer Jonathan Broxton to face Yasiel Puig and Hanley Ramirez. Puig flied out to the warning track in right field, advancing Gordon to third. Ramirez also flied out to right to end the threat.
ON THE MOUND: Clayton Kershaw was charged with three runs and seven hits over seven innings. The first two runs were scored on a first-inning home run by Brandon Phillips. The Reds added a run in the sixth inning, when Todd Frazier doubled to left field and scored on a wild pitch.
AT THE PLATE: Puig hit his 11th home run, a solo shot in the sixth inning. The Dodgers' other run scored in the fifth inning, when Justin Turner doubled and scored on a passed ball.
IN THE BOOTH: Vin Scully returned after missing two games because of bronchitis. Scully blamed the air conditioning in his hotel room on a recent trip to Arizona. "There was no way to sleep," Scully said. "I was holding my ribs. I thought they would fly out of my chest." Scully was home Sunday when Josh Beckett threw a no-hitter. In his 65 years as the team broadcaster, it was the first Dodgers no-hitter he had missed. "That's the first one I didn't witness," he said. Scully, 86, doesn't live in a Time Warner Cable area, though he said he saw most of the no-hitter in highlight packages.
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