Kemp arrives early, excited to get started with Padres
Star outfielder energized by new surroundings in first camp with San Diego
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Position players won't be required to report to Padres camp until Tuesday, but outfielder Matt Kemp has already been in Peoria a few days, popping in and out of the cage.
"It is really nothing new for me," Kemp said Thursday in a clubhouse mostly populated by pitchers and catchers. "I've always reported early to camp. And especially now that I'm with a new team, this gives me a chance to get acclimated to some of the guys, hang out and also get some of my work in."
Kemp was one of several players first-year general manager A.J. Preller either traded for or added through free agency. He was, really, the first big piece the team added in December, the important element in a five-player deal between the Dodgers and Padres.
The acclimation period with the Padres figures to be important for new players like Kemp, who had spent his entire career -- he was drafted in 2003 -- in the Dodgers' organization.
"I've played against a lot of these guys before and there are some former Dodgers in here," he said, looking around the clubhouse. "But it's going to be a little different. I'm enjoying myself so far."
Three other former Dodgers are in Major League camp: pitcher Scott Elbert and catchers Griff Erickson and Tim Federowicz. Federowicz was a part of the trade that brought Kemp to San Diego.
Kemp reiterated that he's energized by the process of joining the Padres and is looking forward to big things in 2015 -- from himself and the team.
"It's fun to be with a new team and that they've put their faith in you to win some ballgames. I'm up for the challenge," Kemp said. "I've been working hard in the offseason. I'm ready to get on the field with my new teammates and get ready for these 162 games and more."