Matt Kemp was benched over an argument with a coach

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Joe Torre failed to start Matt Kemp for three straight games this week, and when he was asked about it he was kind of coy. The impression given was that he was giving Kemp some time off in order for him to regroup and find a way out of his season-long slump. Dylan Hernandez reports, however, that it was much less zen than that: Kemp was being punished.

Why? Because during Saturday’s game with the Yankees he failed to back up second base when Russell Martin threw to try and nail and Derek Jeter, whole was stealing on the play.  When the throw skipped, Kemp wasn’t there and Jeter scampered on to third base.

The problem came after the inning when bench coach Bob Schaefer tried to remind Kemp of his defensive responsibilities on steals, Kemp was dismissive and Torre subsequently decided that Kemp needed some time off.

True Blue L.A. had a great post recently analyzing Kemp’s struggles this year, and determined that they were mostly a function of speed: he’s getting caught stealing, he’s hitting into double plays, he’s not getting infield hits and he’s not tracking down fly balls.

One possibility is that he’s lost a step or has an injury or something. Another possibility — made more likely in my mind given Hernandez’s story — is that Kemp just isn’t all that motivated to bust his ass like he has in the past.

Blue Jays designate Edwin Jackson for assignment

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Back in May journeyman Edwin Jackson debuted with the Toronto Blue Jays. When he did so, he made history by suiting up for a record 14th different team in his 17-year big league career.

Sadly the 14th time wasn’t the charm, as Jackson has been knocked around pretty good with Toronto, posting an 11.12 ERA in 28 and a third innings over eight appearances, five of which came as starts. He was just insanely hittable over that span, allowing a staggering 15.6 hits per nine innings. As such, it’s not too surprising that the Jays designated Jackson for assignment today. They did so to make room for Jacob Waguespack, who will start tonight’s game against the Red Sox.

Jackson, 35, will not try to latch on with team number 15. Or, I suppose, he he has almost even odds to re-join an old team.