ATLANTA -- Newspaper columnists lured agent Dave Stewart and coaches Larry Bowa and Bob Schaefer into opposing sides of controversy, but Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp stayed mostly above the fray Friday, even if he was the reason for the fray.
"I've got nothing really much to say," Kemp said when asked about the latest Los Angeles Times column quoting his agent saying that criticism of Kemp from coaches -- some of which was written two weeks ago in a Times column -- was unfair and might make a trade preferable to remaining with the Dodgers.
"It's been pretty frustrating for all of us," said Kemp. "Things haven't gone quite as planned, personally and team-wise. I'm going to try to make the best of the rest of the season, play hard and see how it turns out."
Since the second column was posted on the paper's website Thursday night, Schaefer and Bowa called Stewart separately. Schaefer said he called Stewart to set the record straight saying, "I never made a negative comment in the paper [about Kemp].
"He's frustrated. We all are about the current situation," said Schaefer. "I called because I didn't appreciate him taking a shot at me as a coach. He didn't mean it that way. It's no big deal. It's our job to help the players make themselves better. There's no animosity with anybody. Matt Kemp is a good kid. He's not a bad person. We have communication going now, maybe that will help."
Schaefer and Kemp are linked because Kemp was benched for three starts in late June after a dugout incident when he failed to back up second base on a steal attempt, was reminded of his responsibility by Schaefer, and Kemp then snapped at Schaefer.
Bowa said he spent 90 minutes on his call with Stewart, the main topic being Bowa's earlier comments in the Times that Kemp's play this year hasn't matched his "Hall of Fame" talent, and even Kemp agreed. Bowa said he didn't understand why there was anything wrong with what he said and told Stewart that.
"I don't know what they want me to do," Bowa said. "I guess it's our fault he's having a bad year. We'll take the heat."
Bowa sounded annoyed, but said his conversation with Stewart "went great. Two ex-players talking to each other. It ended very good."
"As far as I'm concerned, everything is dandy," said the former Dodger. "I'm at peace with what needed to be said. I'm not trying to fight anybody. The more Bowa and I talked, we're a lot alike in how we like to see the game played. I just didn't think the place to talk about Matt was in the media, and I thought I left Bowa in a place he understood.
"I'm not defending how Matt's played. He understands he needs to be better and play better. It's just that there are 25 players, there are other players not playing well. Why is my guy getting trashed?"