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Kemp soaking up Dodgers' winning mentality

Veteran slugger enjoying camp, making strong bid for starting LF gig
MLB.com @kengurnick

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Matt Kemp not only is a Dodger again, he's having fun again.

"Baseball is supposed to be fun," Kemp said Saturday after slugging his second homer of the spring in the Dodgers' 14-6 win over Arizona and Robbie Ray.

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GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Matt Kemp not only is a Dodger again, he's having fun again.

"Baseball is supposed to be fun," Kemp said Saturday after slugging his second homer of the spring in the Dodgers' 14-6 win over Arizona and Robbie Ray.

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"On a World Series team, anybody would have fun, thinking about being in that position to help them get back there. The success they've had since I've been gone, they get better and better each year. I haven't been on a winning team in a while, and winning is fun.

"Feeling like you're going to win every game is fun. It stinks when you go to the park, your team is playing bad, everybody has that look on their face where you hope you're going to win. Here, it's like,'We're going to win a game today. We're going to get it done, or try to.'

"There's something around here that rubs off on you. On the outside looking in, it looked like they were having fun. This is like one, big, happy family."

Video: 30 Clubs in 30 Days: Kemp on being back with Dodgers

Sounds like Kemp has bought into the Dodgers' selfless mantra, and he's off to a strong start in the competition for the left-field starting job that might be his to lose. He's 4-for-13 with five RBIs, batting .308 with a 1.126 OPS. OK, he's not as scorching hot as Jake Peter, but he also has handled his few chances in the field, where the jury is still out because of declining defensive metrics in recent seasons.

"Moving around, I feel good, waiting for the chance to get some balls and throw guys out," he said. "I just tell the young guys, 'Go get everything, I'll take the side.' That's what Manny [Ramirez] did to me, 'Papi, Papi, you take all of that,' and he'd be on the line."

Kemp hears the warm greetings from familiar fans.

"It's exciting. Cool. I missed it," he said.

The only other leading contender for the left-field job playing Saturday was Andrew Toles, who also helped his cause, coming off the bench with a two-run triple, dispelling concern that last year's major knee surgery would diminish his running speed.

Spring surprise: That would be Peter, who came up big again on Saturday, launching his third home run in as many games. The non-roster invitee is the "other" player the Dodgers acquired in January's three-team, five-player trade that also brought them reliever Scott Alexander, and in only 16 at-bats, Peter has already driven in 11 runs with a 1.416 OPS. He also tripled on Saturday.

Video: ARI@LAD: Peter crushes two-run home run to left

His reaction?

"Just trying to enjoy it, I guess," said Peter. "I worked on some things early in camp with rhythm and timing and that kind of stuff. I'm starting to put it together and hope to keep it going."

Peter said he tweaked his swing last year to generate more power, "and I think it's working. Definitely doing what I want to do."

In addition to Kemp and Peter, Justin Turner and Kyle Farmer homered for the Dodgers on Saturday.

Video: ARI@LAD: Turner slugs a solo shot to left field

Adding insult to injury: Not only did the Dodgers lose reliever Tom Koehler to a shoulder injury in Friday's game, but the club was assessed a mound visit by home-plate umpire Tony Randazzo when Koehler called catcher Yasmani Grandal to he mound to tell him he was injured.

Koehler said to avoid that penalty, an injured pitcher must first get the attention of an umpire or someone in his dugout.

Wood sharp in second spring start: Alex Wood extended to 2 1/3 innings Saturday. He was charged with two runs, but came away satisfied.

"I've been slow and deliberate because of my mechanical work in the offseason and in camp, so I tried to speed my tempo up to solidify my landing leg, and felt a lot better today," said Wood. "It's coming. Progress each time. Feel like I made a lot of progress today."

Video: ARI@LAD: Wood freezes Souza to strike out the side

Legends abound: Eric Karros and Manny Mota are the current visiting instructors at the Dodgers' Spring Training camp. Due in later is Ron Cey. Broadcaster Orel Hershiser is doing double-duty as a pitching instructor throughout camp. Tommy Lasorda arrived this week and said he might stay until the club breaks camp.

Steve Yeager, a part-time big-league catching coach since 2012, worked with the catchers the first week of camp, but has also taken on additional duties from the organization working with sponsors and fulfilling speaking engagements.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

Family values: Manager Dave Roberts left the game in the sixth inning and flew home to attend his daughter's play. Bench coach Bob Geren took over. Bullpen coach Mark Prior also had a family commitment and missed the game. Bill Simas handled bullpen duties.

Injury update: Hyun-Jin Ryu, scratched from his scheduled start Wednesday, has recovered enough from the norovirus that has affected the Dodgers to pitch in a "B" game Monday against the White Sox. Rich Hill will pitch the "A" game against Cleveland. Roberts said Wilmer Font will get at least one more start.

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001. Listen to his podcast.

Los Angeles Dodgers, Matt Kemp