GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Los Angeles Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp, who says he should have been last year’s National League MVP instead of Milwaukee’s Ryan Braun, applauded the decision that overturned Braun’s 50-game suspension for a positive drug test.
“I was happy that he was found not guilty,” Kemp said Friday at the Dodgers’ spring training facility. “I know he’s been going through a lot. Now, he and the Brewers can concentrate on just playing baseball, going about their business.”
Kemp didn’t address questions about the process that ended with an arbitrator ruling in favor of Braun, who tested positive for elevated testosterone in October.
“I don’t know how any of that works,” said Kemp, who calls Braun a friend. “I don’t get into any of that, man. All I know is that he gets to play and help his team win as many games as he can.”
Kemp, an All-Star for the first time in 2011, finished second to Braun in MVP voting. Kemp got 10 first-place votes, Braun got 20.
“I think I should have won, but it’s not my decision,” he said. “I’m not going to sit here and be mad about it. It’s something I got past. You can’t take away from his season.”
Kemp led the league in home runs with 39 and RBIs with 115. He was third in the National League with a .324 batting average.
Braun was second in the NL with a .332 average and had 33 homers and 111 RBIs.
Kemp said the difference was that the Brewers were in the playoffs and the Dodgers were not.
“Braun helped his team make the playoffs, so that definitely had something to do with it,” said Kemp.
NOTES: Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw threw Friday after suffering from tightness in his back Thursday. Kershaw, scheduled to be the Dodgers’ opening-day starter on April 5 against San Diego, is on track to make his spring debut on March 9 against the Texas Rangers at Surprise, Ariz. .Right-hander Mike MacDougal, who complained of back pain Thursday, also worked through his scheduled bullpen session Friday.