The Los Angeles Dodgers will kick off their Spring Training schedule tomorrow afternoon against the Arizona Diamondbacks, but outfielder Matt Kemp will be relegated to cheerleading duty. Coming off ankle and shoulder surgeries, the two-time All Star is swinging in the cages, but still hasn’t been cleared to run.
Manager Don Mattingly recently said the team “isn’t hopeful” that Kemp will be ready for the Opening Series against the Diamondbacks in Australia and both sides are being cautious with his recovery. However, according to Ken Gurnick of Dodgers.com, Kemp will undergo an MRI on Friday:
Matt Kemp's MRI is Friday.
— Ken Gurnick (@kengurnick) February 25, 2014
The MRI was previously scheduled so this isn’t a reaction to a setback he’s had during camp. About a week ago, Mattingly reiterated there wasn’t a timetable for Kemp to start running and that he’s been receiving MRI’s “once a month or so”. The Dodgers are hopeful that the MRI results will allow him to take the next step in his recovery and possibly clear the last hurdle, running.
In just 73 games last season, Kemp hit .270 with six home runs and 33 RBI, but shoulder, ankle and hamstring injuries derailed his season. When he returned in late September, the 29-year-old looked like the 2011 version of himself, stinging balls off the bat and playing a great defensive center field.
With four starting outfielders for three spots, the Dodgers are in no rush to get Kemp back in the lineup and he’s already stated that when he does return, he won’t accept the fourth outfielder spot. Andre Ethier reiterated the same sentiments as Mattingly will have a decision to make when all four are healthy.
The results of the MRI on Friday will go a long way in setting a timetable for Kemp’s return as it’s already looking like he won’t be ready for the Australia games.
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