Matt Kemp has been sidelined now since May 30 with a strained hamstring as he also recovers from shoulder surgery he had in the off-season. Kemp didn’t get off to the start that Dodger fans expected as he has only two home runs through 51 games as the team is still in last place.
However, the promotion of Yasiel Puig has taken the sting somewhat out of Kemp’s slow start, but leaves the question to what a healthy Kemp would mean for the middle of the lineup.
Speaking to Jim Bowden of SiriusXM radio, general manager Ned Colletti provided an update on Kemp’s progress:
Ned Colletti Dodgers GM just told me that Matt Kemp is “running at 75% without pain..trying to push it farther. No timetable yet for rehab”
— JIM BOWDEN (@JimBowdenESPNxm) June 18, 2013
Kemp injured his other hamstring last season and missed a significant portion of the season, but his shoulder injury in Colorado last season is the main reason why he’s been struggling this season.
Since Puig is in right field and Andre Ethier has taken over in center field, the most likely scenario is that Ethier or Puig would shift to left field until Carl Crawford gets back.
Entering play today, the Dodgers are seven games behind first place Arizona and for how poorly they’ve played without their stars hitting, they have a chance to make up ground if Kemp finds his power stroke.
A hamstring injury is always a tricky injury to come back from as Kemp has already suffered a setback has he pushed things too far about a week ago.
If the Dodgers are going to make a second half charge they’re going to need to make sure Kemp’s hamstring is fully healthy before he makes his return. Hopefully the time off has refocused him and he’ll start producing like all Dodger fans know he can.