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07/05/10 9:45 PM EST

Kemp appears more comfortable at plate

LOS ANGELES -- At-bats have started to slow down for Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp, who has homered in three of the past four games and went 9-for-22 on the Dodgers' six-game road trip after being briefly benched.

"He looks like he's not in a hurry," manager Joe Torre said. "And to me when you look like you're in a hurry, that pitcher is going to make you pay for that. It was good for us ... especially the home run [on Sunday] being as late [in the game] as it was, that was big for him. You can see he was very emotional as he came around the bases. Everybody was pulling for him in the dugout. I think that's the one area where he felt he was letting people down."

More open to talking now about what was going on with Kemp's play than he was near the time of the benching, Torre said Monday he thought Kemp was putting too much pressure on himself.

"I think he's just more relaxed," Torre said. "I think he was just wound up very tight. You can't help yourself. We have stats all over the board; you get up to home plate, you look out there, and you see what you're hitting. When I played, I had to look out there and see my picture, and that was ugly."

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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