Los Angeles Dodgers’ outfielder Matt Kemp took a small step today toward his recovery from off-season ankle surgery. He participated in another intrasquad game today and did something that he had yet to do in a game thus far.
According to the official Dodgers’ PR Twitter account, Kemp was active in the field:
Matt Kemp played one inning (six outs) in center field. Kemp had one putout catching a fly ball from Puig. #Dodgers
— Dodgers PR (@DodgersPR) March 13, 2014
Kemp has been working his way back all winter and spring and is now on the sixth step of a seven-step program. He’s been taking part in batting practice for a majority of the spring and was recently cleared to do some more running. The 29-year-old played defense and continues to feel no soreness in his surgically repaired left ankle.
With the season just over a week away, Kemp has already been ruled out for Australia and is unlikely to be ready for the stateside opening date of March 30. If he continues to progress, Kemp could rejoin the team in April or May and take his position back in center field. He’s already expressed his desire to be a full-time outfielder once he returns, refusing to be a fourth outfielder for the Dodgers. In his last full season in 2011, Kemp was the National League MVP runner-up, finishing with 39 home runs and 40 stolen bases.
Joining Kemp on the back fields at Camelback Ranch was fellow outfielder Yasiel Puig. The Cuban outfielder has struggled at the plate this spring, while dealing with soreness in his shoulder but will be ready for the regular season.
He had a better day at the plate than Kemp and even did something for the first time this spring:
Matt Kemp went 0-6 in an intrasquad game. Yasiel Puig went 4-10 with a home run.
— Dodgers Nation (@DodgersNation) March 13, 2014
A strong season from Puig, along with a healthy Kemp would give the Dodgers two of the most athletic players in the league roaming the outfield. It would also solidify a lineup with sluggers Adrian Gonzalez and Hanley Ramirez, making the Dodgers serious World Series contenders.
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