Kemp Ready To Roll

spring-training-slide

The Padres gang is all here and let’s go.
“It’s exciting to see everybody,” outfielder Matt Kemp said.
The balance of the roster reported to Peoria on Tuesday, with the first work coming Wednesday.
It’s a new-look bunch, thanks to general manager A.J. Presser reshaping the squad.
“A.J. and those guys made some moves that I think they shocked a lot of people,” Kemp said. “It definitely improved this team and made it better.”
Kemp was among the marquee players, along with outfielders Justin Upton, Wil Myers and pitcher Jason Shields to reach San Diego. That’s filled the clubhouse with optimism, although that can be said in anywhere in the Cactus or Grapefruit leagues.
“The fist day of spring training every team thinks they are the best team in major-league baseball,” Kemp said. “The key thing is staying healthy, staying on the field and everybody doing their job. I think if we do that we have a chance to be a very successful team.”
That success would come in the National League West — and against Kemp’s old team, the Dodgers — and that makes it all the much better. It’s clear Kemp, who has a home in Poway, is happy he’s a Friar.
“It’s a plus because San Diego is a wonderful city and I own a house here so I don’t have to rent anymore,” he said. “I’m happy because I save some money and live in my own house.
“I’m ready to be a Padre and be part of this and do some special things here. I’m going to do whatever it takes to help this team win baseball games.
Manager Bud Black said Kemp has already established a role as leader.
“He is a hard worker; he has a very good work-ethic,” Black said. “He brings a certain energy to the weight room when he is around because he works. Which is great.”

Black also said Kemp and teammate Carlos Quentin have made nice. The two exchanged heated words in 2013 when the Dodgers’ Zack Greinke hit Quentin with a pitch. Quentin was suspended eight games for charging the mound and breaking Greinke’s collar bone.
Kemp said the main thing is he’s fit, no longer compromised by ankle and shoulder injuries.
“This is my first offseason that I could actually train and get my legs under me,” he said. “My strength is up and I feel good.”
So does everyone in what’s become a crowded Padres clubhouse.
“If we come together as a team and help one another,” Kemp said. “We can be very successful as a team.”
+ Contact Jay Paris at jparis@bcaradio.com

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