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Ballplayer hijinks are what spring training is all about

3/11/2012

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Let it never be said Matt Kemp can't take a joke. But that doesn't mean a jokester who stages an elaborate prank on the Dodgers' All-Star center fielder shouldn't expect payback.

At some point while reliever Matt Guerrier was in uniform for Sunday's Cactus League game against the Chicago Cubs -- he pitched the fourth inning -- Kemp and catcher A.J. Ellis went to the Camelback Ranch players' parking lot and filled the cabin of Guerrier's SUV with Styrofoam packing peanuts.

Through hard-nosed and relentless reporting, I learned this was in response to a prank pulled by several of the team's relief pitchers but led by Guerrier, which is why he was selected as the target of the revenge. According to a source I spoke to, whose identity I will take to my grave, the whole thing started when Kemp did a magazine photo shoot, in which several of the poses were in his underwear.

So Guerrier apparently enlisted a few of his bullpen mates -- including Todd Coffey -- and, with the help of longtime team photographer Jon SooHoo, they did their own spread, also mostly in underwear. They then put Kemp's photos on a poster next to theirs, and hung the whole thing in a prominent place in the clubhouse.

It's all good fun until somebody loses an eye.