It’s been the story of spring training thus far and will continue to be as Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp looks to take the next step in his recovery from off-season ankle surgery: running. Kemp has been out of a walking boot for the last several weeks, but hasn’t been cleared to ramp up the rehab process.
With a week until the Dodgers start spring training games and close to a month before they head over to Australia for the start of the regular season, Kemp being ready for the season has been put into question. According to manager Don Mattingly via Bill Plunkett of the OC Register, Kemp will undergo another MRI in two weeks:
Mattingly said Matt Kemp has been getting MRI/exam of ankle “once a month or so.” Had one about 2 weeks ago so another 2 weeks before next.
— Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) February 19, 2014
The 29-year-old outfielder has already been outspoken about playing this season, claiming he won’t accept a fourth outfielder role though many would agree he isn’t one to begin with. Kemp has been hitting in the cages and taking ground balls in the outfield, but there’s no timetable for him to start running.
Limited to just 73 games in 2013, Kemp dealt with shoulder, hamstring and ankle injuries and was shut down prior to the playoffs starting. With three starting outfielders in Yasiel Puig, Andre Ethier and Carl Crawford in the fold, the Dodgers don’t need to rush Kemp back from the ankle injury to ensure he’s 100 percent this time.
Kemp admitted to rushing back from injuries last season and with a capable replacement, he needs to take his time. There were also multiple trade rumors surrounding Kemp during the winter meetings and they’re sure to pop up once again after he’s given a clean bill of health.
While it’s frustrating for Dodger fans to wait for Kemp to take the next step in his recovery, hopefully the MRI in two weeks will allow him to ramp things up.
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