Kemp had a three-run homer and a single in the Dodgers' 10-3 win over the Padres on Monday night. But he played only four innings before being lifted for pinch-hitter Joc Pederson to lead off the fifth.
"Matt is fine,'' manager Dave Roberts said. "He has been getting the lion's share of starts and I want to keep Joc in there and him getting his at-bats. With a good lead, Joc can play good defense out there and we keep Matt fresh.''
"I think with Yasmani he is as good as we have as far as looking over a baseball and understanding a strike from ball,'' Roberts said. "And when he gets impatient and out of the strike zone, it goes the other way. When he is stubborn in the strike zone, he is as good as anybody.
"I think right now, he is seeing it really well. He's taking walks and hitting the ball hard and he is getting rewarded. This is as locked in as I've seen him.''
Kemp and Grandal once both had lockers at Petco Park. But Grandal was traded for Kemp in 2015. Kemp said it's strange that they are now teammates.
"I just thought about that,'' Kemp said. "It's definitely weird, but it's definitely good to be on the same team and doing what we are doing.''
Kemp said he enjoyed inflicting some pain on his old team. It brought some relief from those fans riding him from the left-field seats.
"For sure, you come to a place where you played and you want to do good,'' he said. "I had some fans screaming at me tonight, so I shut them up for a little while.''
What Kemp isn't doing is causing a distraction. He's bought into Roberts' plans for him, even if it means playing half a game as he did on Monday.
"I'm just happy to be in a uniform playing for the team that I started with,'' Kemp said. "My main focus is just to help this team any way I can to win games and get back to the World Series.
"I know my role. My role is when I play is to make things happen. The communication has been very good. We've had conversations about my role and I've accepted them."
Jay Paris is a contributor to MLB.com based in San Diego.