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Kemp earns NL Player of the Month honors

Outfielder led league with nine home runs in September

LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp missed half of last September with a left ankle injury. This September, he's the National League Player of the Month. Kemp took home the honor Tuesday as the Dodgers held their first team workout in preparation for the NL Division Series against the Cardinals, starting Friday.

The 30-year-old outfielder batted .322 with a .347 on-base percentage and a .700 slugging percentage in September. Kemp led the league with nine home runs in the month, and he tied teammate Adrian Gonzalez with 25 RBIs.

The award -- and the chance to play in the postseason -- is especially sweet for Kemp after surgery on his left ankle ended his season a year ago.

"I think around this time I had one of those little scooters on, so I wasn't the most happy person in the world," Kemp said. "So to come from where I was to where I am now is definitely a blessing. I'm happy to be where I'm at and in the position I'm in."

Kemp had a strong second half overall, sliding into the cleanup spot. He hit .309/.365/.606 after the All-Star break, clubbing 17 of his 25 home runs and tallying 54 of his 89 RBIs.

As much as he appreciates the award, Kemp said his attention is focused on what's ahead.

"Awards are always nice, but for me, it's bigger than that," Kemp said. "You don't really play this game for awards. The awards are nice, and you get rewarded for things that you've done. But the main reward is health, and I think at the end, the award that everybody wants is a World Series."

Michael Lananna is an associate reporter for
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