Matt Kemp happy for Ryan Braun
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Los Angeles Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp, who finished second in National League Most Valuable Player balloting to Milwaukee's Ryan Braun last fall before Braun tested positive for elevated levels of testosterone, said Friday that he was happy Braun had won his appeal and won't have to serve a 50-game suspension.
"I was happy that he was not found guilty," said Kemp, who claims Braun as a personal friend. "I know he has been going through a lot. Now, he and the Brewers can concentrate on playing baseball and going about their business."
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Kemp declined to address information sources told ESPN that Braun's successful appeal was based mostly on a technicality centered on how Braun's urine sample was handled during the testing process, meaning it seemed to fall short of proving Braun's actual innocence.
Kemp (.324 average, 39 home runs, 126 RBIs) finished second to Braun (.322, 33, 111) in MVP balloting, receiving 10 first-place votes and 332 points from a panel of 32 writers, two from each of the 16 National League cities.
Braun had 20 first-place votes and 388 points, a result that could have been a reflection of the fact Braun's Brewers won the NL Central, while Kemp's Dodgers didn't come close to reaching the playoffs.
"I'm sure that's what it was," Kemp said. "I think I should have won, of course, but that wasn't my decision. I can't sit here and be mad about it. That was a while back. It's something I have gotten past. ... You can't take anything away from the season he had. I'm sure there were other players who felt they were deserving, too."
Kemp said he will reach out to Braun the next time he sees him, which could be during a Cactus League game March 20 between the Dodgers and Brewers at Camelback Ranch, but the subject of Braun's appeal isn't something he plans to bring up.
"I'm sure I will see him in spring training," Kemp said. "When I do, we'll chat it up like we always do. This is something that he can put in the past now and get ready for the season. I'm sure he isn't worried about that anymore."
Kemp said earlier this week that even if Braun lost his appeal, he didn't want the MVP award to fall to him "by default."
The Baseball Writers' Association of America, which conducts balloting for the award, let it be known shortly after news broke of Braun's positive test that the award would not be rescinded, regardless of the outcome of Braun's appeal.
Tony Jackson covers the Dodgers for ESPNLosAngeles.com.