Kemp, Hudson secure Gold Gloves
First award for outfielder, fourth for second baseman
LOS ANGELES -- Center fielder Matt Kemp and second baseman Orlando Hudson received National League Gold Glove Awards on Wednesday in a defensively historic day for the Dodgers.
It marked the first year since 1975 (Steve Garvey and Andy Messersmith) that the Dodgers have had two Gold Glove winners that played the entire season with the club. In 2004, Dodgers shortstop Cesar Izturis and center fielder Steve Finley won Gold Glove awards, but Finley was acquired at the July 31 Trade Deadline.
Excluding Finley, this also is the first time a Dodgers center fielder won the award since Willie Davis in 1973 and (again excluding Finley) Kemp is the first Dodgers Gold Glove outfielder since Raul Mondesi in 1997.
Kemp, 25, was the primary center fielder for the first time in his career and ranked third in the Major Leagues with 14 outfield assists while committing only two errors. He is also in the running for a Silver Slugger Award.
"People said I needed to work on my defense, so I was coming out early and working on it and showed I what I could do," Kemp said. "It means a lot to me.
"I take as much pride in my defense as my offensive game. If you can save a run and help your team win a game, it's just as big as hitting a home run or a game-winning hit."
Kemp listed Ken Griffey Jr. and Torii Hunter as center fielders that he's admired and said winning the award will motivate him to continue working at his defense.
"People's expectations, now you're supposed to win a Gold Glove every year," he said.
Meanwhile, Hudson is the first Dodgers second baseman to win a Gold Glove since Davey Lopes in 1978. The award is the fourth for Hudson, who signed with the Dodgers in February coming off a career-threatening wrist injury.
"I thought I was done," he said about the injury.
But he made the All-Star team with an impressive first half, only to tail off in the second half and lose his starting job to Ronnie Belliard in September and the playoffs.
Hudson downplayed the suggestion that his season ended on a sour note.
"I had a good season," said Hudson, speaking by phone from Hunter's charity golf tournament in Arizona. "I can't complain about it. I hit for the cycle, I played second base for the L.A. Dodgers, Jackie Robinson's team. It couldn't have ended any better."
He said he hasn't spoken to the Dodgers about returning next year, but hasn't ruled out the possibility.
"I would be interested in coming back," he said. "The fans were great, the teammates unbelievable. I had a blast. I wouldn't close the door."
Hudson committed only eight errors for a .988 fielding percentage, fifth on the franchise's single-season list for a second baseman. A free agent, Hudson cleaned out his locker even before the playoffs started and is not expected to re-sign with the club after earning just shy of $8 million, mostly in incentives.
As a team, the Dodgers finished fourth in the league with a .986 fielding percentage, second-best percentage in Los Angeles Dodgers history behind the .988 of 2004.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.