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Notes: Stop sign not always obeyed

Notes: Stop sign not always obeyed

PHILADELPHIA -- Matt Kemp had such a productive game Wednesday night, what with four hits, that the fact he ran through a stop sign at third base and was out at the plate was almost overlooked.

But not in the dugout.

"It gets addressed regardless," said Dodgers manager Grady Little. "It proves what they say about playing younger guys. They have a tendency to do things you just can't believe, and turn around and do something you can't believe. It's part of the process of playing younger guys. They get so wound up and the game goes so fast, sometimes that they have to slow it down."

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Third-base coach Rich Donnelly, whose sign Kemp ran through, had an upbeat take on the kind of mistake that might make a coach wonder why he's out there in the first place.

"It's fun to see a guy run through it and score, because we've got a couple of guys who can't run through it," said Donnelly. "I mean, last week, [Kemp] did it and scored. Last night, he didn't. We've got four guys in our regular lineup who can run. We've got four guys who can't. Matt Kemp can fly. It's kind of neat, as long as you make it.

"The young guys like Kemp are more daring than the older guys. The older guys, they get to third base and look for the stop sign. The young guys want to score from first on a single. That's the way our club is. When they sit around the clubhouse and talk, the veterans talk about players the young guys have never heard of. We've got guys who get carded and guys almost eligible for pensions. The kids can't even spell pension. We got guys who were winning batting titles at Fenway Park [Nomar Garciaparra] the same time some of our other guys were playing on a Kiwanis Field in Defiance [Ohio, Chad Billingsley]."

More lineup news: In addition to Kemp, Little started Luis Gonzalez in the outfield, but he sat down first baseman James Loney against left-hander Fabio Castro. Shea Hillenbrand moved from third base to first and Ramon Martinez, who had two RBIs on Wednesday night, started at third base.

"Martinez has an unusual stat," said Little. "He has the same number of RBIs as hits [20]. You don't see that very often. It's an amazing stat."

The last Dodger to have at least as many RBIs as hits, with a minimum of 20, was Billy Ashley, who had 25 RBIs and 22 hits (nine home runs) in 1996.

Facing Fabio: Little agreed with Andre Ethier's comments that the Dodgers have a tendency to lack focus against lesser-known pitchers. Without mentioning names, Philadelphia's starter Thursday, Castro, would probably qualify.

"We've shown already there is a danger in that," said Little. "We've run up against that a lot this season. There's a lot to be said about hitter familiarity with opposing pitchers. You can watch video and look at stats, but it's not like facing the guy."

Little on second-guessers: The manager was asked about fans who tell him what they would have done differently if they were managing the Dodgers.

"A lot of people are capable of playing Nintendo baseball," he said. "When you play fantasy baseball or on a computer, rarely do you take into account a missed umpire's call or a tweaked hamstring. People only know part of it. There's a reason why we do what we do."

Injury updates: Disabled pitchers Randy Wolf (shoulder impingement) and Hong-Chih Kuo (elbow surgery) were able to play catch for a second consecutive day.

Coming up: National League Cy Young Award candidate Brad Penny (14-3, 2.59 ERA) opposes Oliver Perez (11-8, 3.52 ERA) and the Mets in Friday's 4:10 p.m. PT series opener in New York. Penny is 5-10 with a 5.72 ERA lifetime against the Mets, but 2-0 with a 2.70 ERA this year.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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