Saturday, March 24, 2012

Matt Kemp Looks Ready for Regular Season; Quintin Berry Leads Tigers with Grand Slam

Players of the Day for Friday, March 23, 2012

Grapefruit League

Down 2-1 to Pittsburgh entering the ninth inning, the rampaging Detroit Tigers were in jeopardy of losing their fourth exhibition game.

Quintin Berry
For the power-stroking Tigers, no problem. Fleet outfielder Quintin Berry, a speedster who was acquired by the Tigers from the Reds in the off-season, showed off a little power of his own with a grand slam that capped a six-run ninth and led to the 7-2 win.

Berry, who has toiled through six seasons in the minors under various organizations, isn't likely to make the Tigers' opening-day roster, even though he's having an excellent spring, batting .391 with seven RBI, a couple of steals, and now, a game winning grand slam. In Friday's game he singled and stole a base before his final inning blast, going 2-for-2.

With the win, the Tigers remain in the hunt for the Grapefruit League title. Though they have the best winning percentage (.8240 with a 14-3 record, they trail the 17-4 Blue Jays by one game. Toronto has won five straight and the 12-6 Cardinals, winners of six straight, have snuck into third place, 3 1/2 behind Toronto.

Cactus League

Matt Kemp
Last year, the Dodgers' Matt Kemp had the kind of season most players only dream about, flirting with a triple crown while leading the NL with 39 homers and 126 RBI. His .324 batting average was good for third in the league, but short of the triple crown, a feat that hasn't been accomplished since Carl Yasztremski did it for Boston in 1967.

From the looks of Kemp in spring training, the Dodger outfielder is ready for another assault on the record books. He's batting .333 with two homers and nine RBI in 39 at-bats, reasonable warm-up stats.

In Friday's 17-4 rout of the White Sox, Kemp went 3-for-4, with a single, double, home run, four RBI and two runs, gearing up for the start of the regular season, which, for the Dodgers, starts on April 5th, with a four-game stint at San Diego.

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