It’s been a busy off-season for the 29-year-old center fielder as trade rumors along with rumors about his personal life have been brought to the forefront. Still, he remains confident that he’ll return to 100 percent by the start of Spring Training, something Dodgers GM Ned Colletti talked to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe about his progress:
His upper body is strong, he’s jogging and getting comfortable with his lower half.
Kemp said he doesn’t foresee his ankle giving him problems during the season and his twice surgically repaired shoulder is back to where it was during his MVP-like 2011 season. While the Dodgers have said publicly they don’t intend to trade him at the moment, some have speculated they’re waiting to see how he is in Spring Training before making a decision.
One of the teams looking to add an outfielder is the Boston Red Sox, who had previous interest in Kemp and might be a landing spot for Andre Ethier as they look to get over the loss of outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury. Still according to Cafardo, a scout familiar with Kemp said he might not be quite 100 percent in 2014:
I think he’s going to be a guy who will be OK this year, but you’ll get the best of Kemp the following year as he’s recovered completely from the ankle.
Last season, Kemp dealt with hamstring, shoulder and ankle injuries and it caught everyone off guard when it was announced he would miss the postseason with such a significant injury. In 11 September games, Kemp hit .314 with one home run and six RBI, but left Dodger fans thinking “what if” after their NLCS Game 6 loss to the Cardinals.
Hopefully in 2014 the Dodgers will get closer to the 2011 Kemp as they look to get over the hump and into their first World Series since 1988.
ICYMI: Vin Scully reflected on his time as Grand Marshal of the Rose Parade