Thanks to his refreshing honesty in an impromptu media scrum after Wednesday’s game, Matt Kemp didn’t leave Dodger fans with much guesswork regarding his latest injury. The remaining details will be revealed in an MRI scan on his left hamstring tomorrow.
Kemp re-aggravated the same injury that landed him on the 15-day disabled list earlier this month in the first inning of the Dodgers’ 6-3 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers.
In the first at-bat of the game, Kemp singled off Brewers starter Yovani Gallardo. Andre Ethier followed that up with an RBI double, sending Kemp all the way home from first base.
Kemp said he was “pretty much close to third base” when he felt pain “grab” the lower part of his left hamstring — the same area he hurt before going on the DL from May 14-29. In an act of frustration, Kemp slammed a baseball bat over his knee in the Dodgers’ dugout before leaving down the tunnel leading into the team clubhouse.
Asked directly if he expects to go on the disabled list, Kemp said, “I would think so. It feels worse than the first time.”
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly agreed.
“It looks like it’s a pretty good chance,” he said.
The natural inclination is to believe that Kemp came back to soon, but there’s no solid evidence of that. The center fielder seemed to have no problem running at top speed in Tuesday’s game, his first in the major leagues since May 13. And, of course, the Dodgers had no incentive to bring Kemp back too soon.
Kemp is known for being stubborn, a trait that may have aided his streak of 399 straight games. Not on Wednesday.
“I was gonna try to hide it, but there’s pretty much no hiding it from Donnie B,” he said.
Kemp even managed to muster a joke about his misfortune: “That’s what happens when you’re fast.”
The Dodgers have lost five of seven games but still own the best record in Major League Baseball at 32-18. They leave for a 10-game road trip beginning Friday in Denver.
Outfielder Jerry Sands was optioned to Triple-A Albuquerque on Tuesday, when Kemp was activated from the DL, and could be summoned again Thursday. The Isotopes were playing a road trip in New Orleans.
Another possibility is outfielder Juan Rivera, who is eligible to be activated from the DL and is currently rehabbing a hamstring injury at Single-A Rancho Cucamonga. He was hopeful about rejoining the Dodgers on Friday. But Mattingly shot down the idea of bringing Rivera back a day ahead of schedule.
“That’s probably the last thing we should do,” the manager said.