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Matt Kemp Benched By Joe Torre

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Matt Kemp, who has been in a slump for over two months, has been given a few days off by manager Joe Torre "to get some things figured out," per Jeff Fletcher of AOL Fanhouse.

It is unclear if there was a specific event that triggered the benching, as Kemp was also held out of the starting lineup Sunday against the Yankees.  Kemp was picked off second base in the ninth inning last week by Brian Fuentes of the Angels, but started the next three games.  In those three games, Kemp had three hits in 12 at-bats with two walks, but also struck out eight times.

On the pregame show on KCAL, third base coach Larry Bowa was asked why Kemp, who in his career has hit .457 off tonight's starter, Barry Zito, with a .525 on-base percentage and .543 slugging percentage, was sitting.  Bowa laughed, then responded:

Well, I don’t know if there’s more too it. Joe doesn’t like what he’s watching lately. And he’s staying with Reed Johnson who had 3 hits last night and when a guy gets an oppurtunity and takes an advantage of it like Reed Johnson you leave him in there. And Andre Ethier is one of our better hitters. So that’s a decision that Joe made.

After belting seven home runs and driving in 20 runs in the first 14 games of the season, Kemp has just four home runs and 20 RBI in 61 games since, hitting .238 with a .294 on-base percentage and a .381 slugging percentage.