Daily Distractions: Will Matt Kemp’s MRI results determine the Dodgers’ future?

Matt Kemp

Matt Kemp leaves the field with athletic trainer Nancy Pattersonon Wednesday night after straining his right hamstring in a 4-3 loss to the Angels (Associated Press)

Matt Kemp will have an MRI on his aching right hamstring today, which could be the biggest news the Dodgers receive all month.

Or not.

The Dodgers are averaging more than four runs a game the past week, despite benching Kemp once, then dropping him to fifth in the batting order, and watching him go 3 for 21 (.143) while he was in the lineup. The Dodgers were able to tread water for about a month while Kemp recuperated from his hamstring strains in May and June of last year. It wasn’t until mid-June that the Dodgers went into a tailspin — and that was with a lineup featuring Dee Gordon, Tony Gwynn Jr., Elian Herrera and Bobby Abreu among others on a nightly basis. With Hanley Ramirez due to return soon, there’s reason for optimism even if Kemp does need time on the DL.

He probably won’t need much time, if any.

“It’s not as bad as last year, but when you feel it grabbing you got to take it easy and make sure you take care of it cause it can get worse,” Kemp told colleague Clay Fowler after the Dodgers’ 4-3 loss to the Angels on Wednesday. “Probably about two years ago, I probably would have stayed in the game.”

Some more bullet points for a Canary Islands Day:

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With Ramirez returning, too little too late for Cruz to remain with Dodgers?

Luis Cruz and Don Mattingly were using the same term, but referencing entirely different things.

In every sense of the word, the Dodgers infielder’s timing was right on Tuesday.

With his days on the parent club’s roster seemingly numbered as Hanley Ramirez works his way back from a hamstring injury, Cruz produced his first extra-base hit of the season when he needed it most. The timing of the 29-year-old’s two-run home run in the fifth inning of Tuesday’s 3-0 win over the Angels couldn’t have been better, according to Mattingly.

The Dodgers manager was grateful it gave his team a lead it wouldn’t relinquish. Cruz was happy the timing of his plant foot and his swing were properly coordinated, something that has been plaguing him during a season-long slump during which his batting average has ranged from .087 to .115.

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