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Kemp claims NL Player of Week honors

Kemp claims NL Player of Week honors

On April 5, Dodgers manager Joe Torre replaced outfielder Matt Kemp with veteran Juan Pierre in the starting lineup against the division-rival Padres.

"Kemp's struggling," Torre said then of the 23-year-old, who was 2-for-15 with six strikeouts. "The game speeds up and he's just impatient."

Now, exactly one month later, Torre might have a few different words to describe the young outfielder, who is hitting .324 and on Monday was named National League Player of the Week, presented by Bank of America.

Kemp led the National League last week with 11 RBIs and six stolen bases while tying for the league lead with 11 hits. The right fielder hit .407 (11-for-27) with four doubles, seven runs scored, a .556 slugging percentage and an on-base percentage of .433.

On April 27, Kemp guided the Dodgers' 10-run rally in the first inning over the Rockies with a sacrifice fly in his first at-bat before further igniting the team's offensive tear with the first grand slam of his career, capping the first five-RBI game of his 172-game Major League career.

"I was just looking for a pitch to drive," Kemp said after the game. "The first grand slam was pretty exciting and it helped us get some momentum."

Torre responded to Kemp's performance after the game by saying the outfielder "has a great deal of ability."

Five days later at Coors Field in Colorado, Kemp hit two RBI doubles leading the Dodgers to an 11-6 victory and their seventh consecutive win.

"We knew we could play like this," said Kemp after the victory. "You look at the lineup, there was no excuse the way we started out."

During the week, in which the Dodgers continued a slow climb up the NL West standings, Kemp recorded four mulit-hit games and three multi-RBI games while hitting safely in all six games played.

This marks the first time Kemp has won the weekly honors, which hadn't been awarded to a Dodgers player since Andre Ethier in July 2006. Other nominees for the week included a pair of Kemp's teammates -- Rafael Furcal and Juan Pierre.

Tourneau, the world's largest watch store, will award Kemp and American League Player of the Week Jack Cust of the Oakland A's with a luxury Swiss Timepiece, suitably engraved, in recognition of their accomplishments.

Jane Lee is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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