Matt Kemp doesn’t want the 2011 NL MVP award

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Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp narrowly lost the 2011 NL Most Valuable Player award to Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun. That the two were separated by about 60 points in voting illustrates just how close the race was. Now that we’ve learned that Braun did, in fact, use performance-enhancing drugs, that race isn’t nearly as close for a lot of people. Some have suggested retroactively naming Kemp the 2011 NL MVP and stripping Braun of his award.

Kemp isn’t one of those people. He thinks he lost the 2011 NL MVP race fair and square as it was chosen not by Braun but by writers. Via Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times:

“Honestly, it doesn’t have anything to do with me,” Kemp said. “I was in a race to win the MVP, I got second. It is what it is. The voters had an opinion about who they wanted to pick as the MVP. That’s who they picked, that’s who they felt was the MVP. You have to respect them for that. The other stuff, it is what it is, man. For me, all I’m worried about is getting healthy and getting back on the field and helping my team win.”

Hernandez added this bit, showing that Kemp may feel at least somewhat deserving of the award:

“It would definitely be nice to have a MVP trophy,” he said. “But I didn’t win the MVP. I lost. I got second.”

To a cheater, he was a reminded.

“Yeah…. OK.… Yeah,” he said, smiling.

Kemp did say Braun should be stripped of the award, per MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick:

“Do I feel like it should be stripped? I mean, yeah, I do,” Kemp said. “I feel like it should be, but that’s not for me to decide, you know? That’s not for me to decide.”

As for Kemp’s ailing ankle suffered sliding into Nationals catcher Kurt Suzuki on Sunday, the team will decide tomorrow if he will need another stint on the disabled list, according to Gurnick.

Jonny Venters is still pitching

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Lefty reliever Jonny Venters was among a handful of players the Rays signed to minor league contracts, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports.

Venters, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2012 and has logged just 27 2/3 innings in the minors in the meantime due to a continuous battle with his elbow. According to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Venters has undergone four — four! — Tommy John surgeries.

When he was healthy, Venters was a fearsome late-game option for the Braves. He posted a 1.95 ERA with 93 strikeouts in 83 innings in 2010, and a 1.84 ERA with 96 strikeouts in 88 innings in 2011. His first-half performance in 2011 earned him a spot on the National League All-Star roster.

Venters has spent the last two years in the Rays’ system and he’ll try to make it a third.