It’s been over a month since Howie Kendrick was running out a ground ball and ended up exiting the game after pulling up lame.
Kendrick went on the 15-day disabled list the day after with a hamstring strain and it’s been a cautious recovery from the nagging injury. The second baseman was then joined by Yasiel Puig, Kiké Hernandez and Jose Peraza as players out with hamstring strains. Since Kendrick’s injury, the Dodgers acquired Chase Utley from the Philadelphia Phillies and have gone 22-12, increasing their lead in the division to 7.5 games.
Because of the team’s success, they have been able to take a very cautious route to get him back on the field. Kendrick was able to hit in a simulated game on Monday and Tuesday this week, and ran the bases on Wednesday. Manager Don Mattingly discussed the plan moving forward. “Really happy with just the way Howie felt today [Wednesday],” the 54-year-old manager said.
“He ran and didn’t feel anything at all. Tomorrow [Thursday] is the day where we’ll find out a lot. If he comes out of that good then we’ll make a decision about where we go on Friday.”
The veteran second baseman now has the chance to play in some minor-league rehab games, as the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes won their playoff series and start the championship series on Thursday. If Kendrick feels strong enough to test it out, he could play a couple games with the Quakes before returning next week against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Mattingly explained that the injury is pretty much in Kendrick’s hands now. “It’s more just how he feels,” Mattingly said. It’s not a matter of having to go or check in or do anything. It’s really more does he wake up sore? He’ll be able to tell.” The Dodger manager noted that Kendrick has been very honest with the team about how he’s felt throughout the whole process and now it will be his call.
“When you have this kind of thing, you’re testing it all the time, doing different stuff to see if you feel it. So if he wakes up tomorrow and doesn’t feel anything, moves around and feels good, he’s going to pretty much know.”
Once Kendrick returns, the team can ease him back in with Utley behind him, as well as Justin Turner able to take reps at second base.