The Los Angeles Dodgers have been very encouraged by the updates they’ve received on outfielder Matt Kemp’s surgically repaired shoulder and ankle. Kemp was marred by injury for the duration of the 2013 season, but all reports suggested that he’d ready for Opening Day.
Dodgers president Stan Kasten said yesterday that the 29-year-old outfielder was fully recovered from both surgeries, but his agent Dave Stewart had some bad news according to Jon Morosi of Fox Sports:
Stewart said he doesn’t think Kemp will be ready for 3/22 opener in Australia. “If the season opened April 1, I think Matt would be ready.”
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) January 21, 2014
The Dodgers are slated to start their season earlier in 2014 as they’ll travel to Australia for a two-game series on March 22 and 23 against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Last season, Kemp played in only 73 games and was shut down for the postseason after aggravating his left ankle injury he suffered against the Washington Nationals in August.
For most of the off-season Kemp has seen his name in several trade rumors as the Dodgers admitted to fielding offers for their four high-priced outfielders, but Kemp along with Carl Crawford and to a lesser extent Andre Ethier are injury prone. It sounds like management is comfortable heading into the season with all four, with a trade midseason likely if all are healthy.
Meanwhile, pitchers and catchers report to Camelback Ranch on February 8 and the Dodgers will hold their first full team workout six days later. They’ll then head to Australia and return to the United States to play three more exhibition games against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. They’re then slated to open the season against the Padres and the April 1 date Stewart mentioned is the fourth game of the season.
It’s evident the Dodgers are going to be extra cautious about Kemp’s condition, but it sounds like there are conflicting reports already about his availability to start the season.
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