Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp has been rehabbing his surgically repaired left ankle and is expected to join the team in Los Angeles ahead of their three-game Freeway Series that starts Thursday. While he didn’t travel with the team to Australia, the Dodgers put him on the 15-day DL to clear a roster spot to carry an extra outfielder.
In doing so, Kemp isn’t eligible to return until April 4, which is the Dodgers home opener against the San Francisco Giants. Asked about when we could see him in a big league game, Don Mattingly gave this answer to Bill Plunkett of the OC Register:
Mattingly said it is "a possibility" that Matt Kemp will be ready to play when eligible to come off the DL on April 4. #Dodgers
— Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) March 25, 2014
While the team was starting their season last weekend, Kemp was playing in minor league games at Camelback Ranch. Kemp admitted that the results at the plate weren’t his concern, but rather how his ankle reacted after playing nine innings. In his most recent game, he went 2-4 with a home run and a double as his timing looks to be slowly coming back.
When he returns Kemp already said he won’t be a fourth outfielder, which many people close to or around the Dodgers agree with. Manager Don Mattingly will have four capable outfielders for three spots and easing Kemp back into the rigors of playing everyday would be a wise decision. In addition to his surgically repaired ankle, Kemp also underwent a cleanup of his left shoulder and said that he has no issues swinging the bat.
The last two seasons have been tough for Kemp who’s played in only 179 games and has Dodger fans hoping he can return to his MVP-like 2011 season. So far there haven’t been any setbacks for Kemp and while he won’t be able to play in the exhibition Freeway Series, being activated on April 4 sounds like a real possibility.
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