Matt Kemp was penciled into the cleanup spot in the Dodgers’ lineup for the first time this season, and it appears his collision into the center-field wall in Colorado will only keep him out of the lineup for two games.
“It’s as good as it’s going to get,” he said of his knee, which was still swollen Thursday and rendered him unavailable for the Dodgers’ 2-0 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Kemp downplayed the severity of the pain in his left shoulder, but manager Don Mattingly said that the center fielder might still miss the game if the shoulder tightens up after batting practice.
In his career, Kemp is a better hitter out of the three hole, but he has more experience batting fourth (203 games) than third (185). He’s batting .289/.354/.521 as a cleanup hitter and .337/.392/.568 third.
“I batted fourth all last year,” Kemp said. “I know how to do it.”
Mattingly said that he wanted to separate left-handed hitters Adrian Gonzalez and Andre Ethier. Gonzalez is hitting third, Kemp fourth, Hanley Ramirez fifth and Ethier sixth. “Matt didn’t care either way, Adrian didn’t care either way,” Mattingly said.