Kemp adjusting with transition to left field

Kemp adjusting with transition to left field

LOS ANGELES -- Outfielder Matt Kemp has not been the MVP-caliber player he was in 2011. But Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said that version of Kemp still exists.

It's just a matter of finding him.

"He's been an MVP, so he knows how to do it," Mattingly said. "It's there."

If Kemp does regain his form, it will have to be in left field, where he's started the past three games in lieu of the injured Carl Crawford. Andre Ethier has taken hold of the starting center-field job after Kemp's well-documented struggles at the position this season.

Mattingly said Kemp has worked with coaches on being more upright in the field -- so that his first move isn't up. Meanwhile, with the bat, Kemp enters Saturday hitless in his last 17 at-bats and 0-for-12 during the current 10-game homestand. Could his move to left field be affecting him at the plate?

"Since he's been in left, it hasn't went well yet," Mattingly said. "But it will come in time."

Mattingly said he was encouraged by Kemp's at-bats Friday.

"He hit some balls good," Mattingly said. "He hits a ball right up the middle, he hits it into the shift. Thought he made some swings where he was right on balls -- nothing different than I've seen in the past."

Lyle Spencer is a reporter for Michael Lananna is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.