Kemp Wins Dodgers' Campanella award

The Dodgers announced that All-Star center fielder Matt Kemp was named the winner of the sixth annual Roy Campanella Award, which is given to the Dodger player who best exemplifies the spirit and leadership of the late Hall of Fame catcher. The award, which was voted upon by Dodger uniform personnel, will be presented to Kemp by Campanella's daughter, Joni Campanella Roan, tonight before the game.

Former Dodger shortstop Rafael Furcal received the inaugural Roy Campanella Award in 2006 and since then the honor has been bestowed to Russell Martin (2007), James Loney (2008), Juan Pierre (2009), Jamey Carroll (2010) and now Kemp.   

In his fourth full Major League campaign, Kemp has put together a season for the ages as he is currently hitting .320 with 34 homers, 113 RBI and 103 runs scored. Kemp ranks among the National League's top-four in batting average (3rd), home runs (T-3rd), RBI (T-1st), runs (103, T-1st), stolen bases (40, 2nd), on-base percentage (.398, 4th), slugging percentage (.565, 2nd), hits (180, 4th) and total bases (318, T-1st). If the 26-year-old were to finish the season ranked in the top three in homers, average, RBI and steals, he would become just the seventh player in history to do so in their respective league, joining Ty Cobb (1907, 1909, 1910, 1911), Honus Wagner (1908), George Sisler (1920), Chuck Klein (1932), Willie Mays (1955) and Hank Aaron (1963) as the only players to accomplish this feat (Source: Stats, LLC).   

On Aug. 26, 2011, Kemp became just the second Dodger in franchise history to hit at least 30 home runs while stealing at least 30 bases, joining Raul Mondesi, who accomplished the feat twice (1997, '99). Even more impressive, Kemp is now the only player in Dodger history and just the 13th in big league history to steal at least 40 bases while hitting at least 30 homers.   

When the season ends, the Oklahoma native will be one of five players in Major League history to hit over 30 homers, steal more than 35 bases, drive in more than 100 runs and hit higher than .310, joining Ken Williams (1922), Barry Bonds (1992), Alex Rodriguez (1998) and Vladimir Guerrero (2002). The 2011 Campanella winner is also just the eighth Los Angeles Dodger to drive in 100 runs while also scoring 100.

Of all the numbers and accomplishments, the one that resonates with Kemp's teammates the most is his current streak of playing in 355 consecutive games without taking a day off, which is easily the longest-active games played streak in the Major Leagues. Kemp's 1,299.1 innings played is third among all National League outfielders and he leads all NL center fielders with 11 outfield assists.      

Kemp has been steady in the clutch as well, hitting .327 (48-for-127) with runners in scoring position and .344 (95-for-276) with runners on base while leading the Major Leagues with three walk-off home runs this year. Opposing teams have been careful with the MVP candidate all season long as he ranks eighth in the NL with a career-high 73 walks and second in the Majors with 24 intentional passes.     

The six-year pro was rewarded for his fast start in July as the fans voted him to start for the National League in the All-Star Game, which took place in Arizona this season. Kemp didn't take a day off there either, going 1-for-2 with a walk and a run scored in the Midsummer Classic.      

For the second consecutive year, the Dodgers Dream Foundation (DDF) will make a financial contribution to support the Roy and Roxie Campanella Physical Therapy Scholarship Endowment at California State University, Northridge (CSUN). Last year, the DDF, CSUN and the Campanella family announced a partnership that will ensure the legacy of the Hall of Famer catcher for years to come. In addition to the endowment, the partnership also provides an internship opportunity within the Dodgers' medical department each season for a student from the university's physical therapy program.    

  Campanella was a three-time National League Most Valuable Player (1951, 1953 and 1955), eight-time All-Star and a member of the 1955 World Championship team. He played in five World Series and his 142 RBI in 1953 set a franchise record, since surpassed by Tommy Davis (153 in 1962). In 1,215 career games during a 10-year career, all with the Dodgers, he batted .276 with 242 home runs and 856 RBI.   

He began his career in the Negro Leagues, establishing himself as one of the top catchers in the league before joining the Dodger organization in 1946. Campanella played for Class B Nashua of the New England League, making that club the first integrated affiliated baseball team in the United States.   

On Jan. 29, 1958, just as the Dodgers were making final preparations for their move to Los Angeles, Campanella was involved in a tragic car accident that paralyzed him from the neck down, marking the end of his playing career. On May 7, 1959, a Major League record-setting 93,103 fans filled the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on "Roy Campanella Night" for an exhibition game between the Dodgers and Yankees.   

He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1969 and was among the first three Dodgers to have their uniform numbers retired alongside Robinson and Sandy Koufax. Campanella remained active in the Dodgers' Community Relations Department until his passing on June 26, 1993 at the age of 71.

Dodgers hoping this is the real Jerry Sands
The Dodgers are trying not to read too much into the massive week Jerry Sands put together. Similarly, they're trying not to read too much into the struggles he endured for over a month when he was in the big leagues earlier this season.

They know it's part of the learning curve, part of the adjustment process, and the real Jerry Sands lies somewhere in the middle.

Sands went 15-for-27 with seven RBI over the last seven games, including three doubles and his first home run at Dodger Stadium. The home run was pulled, the singles were crisp, the doubles were crushed. But one week, especially four games against the demoralized Pirates, will not impact the Dodgers offseason plans.

"We talk about Jerry a lot; we just want to let him keep playing and see what it looks like," manager Don Mattingly said. "We didn't want to judge him quickly before (when he hit .200 in a first-half call-up) and don't want to judge him quickly now. Kind of let him play and see where he ends up."

The Dodgers were off on Monday. They host the Giants on Tuesday, the opener of a three-game series that concludes their home schedule for the season. Sands will continue playing every day, one advantage of Andre Ethier undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery last week.

Sands is still a big part of the Dodgers' future. Ideally, Sands joins an outfield of Matt Kemp and Ethier that can hit for power and average. But he'll need to earn his way into that starting job.

As Ethier and Kemp no doubt remember, the Dodgers rarely hand starting jobs to younger players. Those two had to wait patiently as the Dodgers signed veterans such as Luis Gonzalez, Kenny Lofton, Jose Cruz Jr., Juan Pierre and Andruw Jones.

Sands had to wait until the Jay Gibbons-Marcus Thames experiment ended in flames. He had to wait for the Juan Rivera experiment that has gone so well, it could continue next season.

First base is still an option for Sands too. It's probably not as likely an option as it was a month ago, before James Loney turned around his season and potentially saved his career, at least, his Dodger career. A lot depends on the financial flexibility that owner Frank McCourt provides general manager Ned Colletti, and the persuasion power of Colletti with free agents.

Sands will get nine more games to make an impression, then it will start all over next spring. Somebody might be blocking his roster spot temporarily, but Sands will play as much as his hitting justifies it.

Bad News for Derrick Hall
Former Dodger executive Derrick Hall and current Arizona CEO Derrick Hall has prostate cancer. The Diamondback's web site reports his date for surgery to remove the tumors has not yet been scheduled. Hall underwent a series of tests recently and had a prostate biopsy performed on Sept. 14.

"I was informed by my doctor while in San Diego with the team Saturday," Hall said. "I am fortunate the disease was caught in the early stages and expect a full recovery. I will use this news as an opportunity to educate and drive awareness, while hopefully saving more lives in the future. I am in great hands, and my family and I are confident we will get through this successfully. I notified all of my staff immediately and am eternally grateful for the overwhelming support, love and prayers."

Hall underwent a PSA (prostate-specific antigen) test, which resulted in elevated numbers and then underwent the prostate biopsy. That test was diagnosed as positive and revealed cancerous tumors.

His many friends in the Dodgers' nation wish him well.

Gary Carter attends college's practice
Former Dodgers' catcher Carter's battle with cancerous brain tumors has taken much of his energy, but the Hall of Fame catcher was able to briefly help coach his Palm Beach Atlantic University baseball team this past week.

Carter was due to begin taking a second, higher-dosage round of chemotherapy pills Monday night, but his white-blood-cell count was too low, his daughter Kimmy Bloemers wrote in an online family journal to which has been granted access.

Carter attended a practice of the Palm Beach Atlantic baseball team he coaches and sat in a chair as players took batting practice. An associate head coach has been hired to handle the bulk of the activities.

Dodgers Honor Long-Time Employees
The Dodgers will honor all employees with 25 or more years of service to the organization on the field prior to tonight's game against San Francisco. Among those being honored will be Hall of Fame Broadcaster Vin Scully, Hall of Fame Manager and Special Advisor to the Chairman Tommy Lasorda, Special Advisor to the Chairman Don Newcombe and Hall of Fame Spanish-language broadcaster Jaime Jarrín.

  At the top of the list of more than 60 individuals that have been with the Dodgers for decades are Hall of Famers Vin Scully (62 seasons), Tommy Lasorda (62 seasons), Don Newcombe (54 years) and Jaime Jarrín (53 seasons). Dodger Coach Manny Mota (42 seasons) and former Dodgers Rick Monday (26 seasons) and Ron Cey (26 years) are also long-timers with the organization. Longtime usher Ira Hawkins (Lake Arrowhead, 53 years), ticket seller Jerry Mickelsen (Los Angeles, 49 years), assistant security manager Edward Gonzales (El Monte, 48 years) and assistant security manager Mas Miyatake (Monterey Park, 42 years) will also be recognized.

  Dodger front office staffers on the list are former travel secretary Billy DeLury (Monterrey Park, 62 seasons), Vice President of Ticket Operations Billy Hunter (Sherman Oaks, 40 years), "Sweet" Lou Johnson (Los Angeles, 30 years), Manager Stadium Services April Thompson (Culver City, 36 years), Manager of Transportation Arnold Douglass (Los Angeles, 32 years), Receptionist Dolores Buonauro (Hacienda Heights, 28 years) and Senior Vice President and General Counsel Sam Fernandez (Manhattan Beach, 29 years).

  The Dodgers' Baseball Operations department has had the following individuals on staff for decades: Batting Practice Pitcher Pete Bonfils (Arcadia, 41 years), Scout Henry Jones (Vancouver, WA, 36 years), Scout Mike Brito (Los Angeles, 33 years), Visiting Clubhouse Manager Jerry Turner (Diamond Bar, 32 years), Special Advisor to Amateur Scouting Director Gib Bodet (San Clemente, 32 years), Scout Carl Loewenstine (Hamilton, OH, 31 years), Great Lakes Manager John Shoemaker (Vero Beach, FL, 29 years), Scout Bobby Darwin (Corona, 29 years) and Dodger Clubhouse Manager Mitch Poole (West Covina, 26 years).

Dodger Blue Notes
--RHP Jonathan Broxton underwent arthroscopic surgery Monday morning on his right elbow. Dr. Neal ElAttrache removed a bone spur and associated loose bodies as planned. Broxton will start his rehab program in the next few days and should be able to begin a throwing program within six to eight weeks.

--RHP Kenley Jansen has struck out 10 of the last 14 batters he's faced.

--RHP John Ely hadn't pitched since being called up from the minors when rosters expanded, until Sunday. Ely was the safety valve, in case Hiroki Kuroda couldn't pitch or had to leave a game early. Ely pitched two scoreless innings. If he would have pitched the ninth, he could have gotten the save, despite a 14-run lead. But instead, RHP Ramon Troncoso got the final three outs.

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