NEW YORK -- Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp, criticized by general manager Ned Colletti for his baserunning, defense and possibly approach, defended himself Wednesday.
Asked in a Tuesday interview on KABC Radio about Kemp, Colletti said the center fielder's baserunning and defense were below average, while also criticizing the young outfielder's approach in general.
"You can say what you want to say and think what you want to think," said Kemp. "I'm going out every day, playing as hard as I can. Sometimes you make mistakes and things happen. I'm one of the first people here every day. I get my work in, I work hard, I watch video."
Colletti also asked rhetorically -- and said he couldn't answer -- if Kemp's play was influenced by the two-year, $10.95 million contract he signed early this year.
"No deal is going to change the way I approach this game," said Kemp. "We're losing right now. People can say what they want or make excuses. I'm not making excuses. We're losing as a team, not any one individual. It's just one of those rough spots. We're starting off slow. Some things need to change and we've got to get better. A new deal has nothing to do with anything. The goal isn't to make money; that's not why I started playing the game. I love the game, and I continue to love this game."
Kemp suggested that the frustration of losing is felt throughout the organization.
"Yeah, it's frustrating to lose," he said. "We're getting beat. Not just getting beat, we're getting our butts whipped every day. That's not cool. I hate to lose. I love to win. Since I got here, I'm used to winning and getting to the playoffs. Now we're not playing good and we've got to do something. Something's got to change, something's got to shake."
Kemp bristled at the suggestion that either he or his teammates as a group are taking things for granted, as Colletti also suggested.
"Dude, this team works hard," Kemp said. "Nobody knows how early you're here, getting your work in, watching videos. We've started slow, we've hit a bump. We're going to get hot. We're good."