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Kemp learning to deal with new fame

Kemp learning to deal with new fame

PHOENIX -- Not for the first time and certainly not for the last, Matt Kemp faced the music on Wednesday about the fallout from his friendship with recording star Rihanna.

News of his involvement with the Grammy-winning R&B singer not only got TMZ and the other celebrity news organizations buzzing, it became a topic of discussion for Dodgers management.

Even though Kemp was rewarded for his Gold Glove/Silver Slugger breakthrough season with a $10.95 million contract, manager Joe Torre felt the need for a "casual conversation" with Kemp about the trappings for a baseball star in life's fast lane.

Can Kemp handle that combination?

"I think we're going to find out," Torre said. "When you get more famous, you get more attention. The fact that he's dating someone famous, it sort of doubles the attention, maybe quadruples the attention. I don't think he'll change what he's going to do. He'll probably have to work harder, not concentrating, but he'll have to answer more questions, get asked more questions.

"My advice to him is, the fact that you are going to get more attention, just make sure your priorities are in order. I don't think you have to say that to Matt Kemp. Off his personality, if the day comes where you feel that you have to talk to him, you do. Derek Jeter, after his first year, he was single in the city of New York, I talked to him. He assured me his priorities were in order, and they were."

Kemp's relationship with Rihanna -- which included a Cabo vacation and a recent birthday party he threw for her -- elevated his exposure in more ways than he would have liked.

Kemp said he understands how difficult it is to retain his privacy as a sports star after four years in Los Angeles.

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"It's not a normal city," said the native Oklahoman. "It's a big city, it's Hollywood, the entertainment capital of the world. It's just like New York. We get more attention than players in a quiet city like Texas. This comes with it and you get used to it. You find different ways to handle it. It can be a little overwhelming. But it's not going to affect my work. I get my work in and plan on repeating the same season or even better."

Not all of the trappings are bad. Kemp will do a photoshoot for GQ Magazine.

"I don't consider myself a model of no type," he said. "I think it's kind of cool. I read GQ. I see how people dress and keep my dress game up."

He's also been getting more headlines than he ever expected in The Source, which calls itself "The Bible of Hip-Hop Music, Culture & Politics."

"I'll have to see what that's about," he said. "Bet they've never seen a baseball preview in Source Magazine."

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

{"content":["spring_training" ] }
{"content":["spring_training" ] }