Dodgers’ Matt Kemp: ‘I’m not in a rush to get back.’

Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp vowed that 2014 will be different.

After missing 87 regular-season games and all of October because of a strained hamstring, a sprained ankle, and a surgically repaired shoulder that was never 100 percent, Kemp said he won’t rush back from any injuries this season.

That might mean missing Opening Day in Australia on March 22. Kemp is at peace with that.

“I’m not in a rush to get back,” he said. “I’ve got to make sure I’m healthy and everything is good.”

Considering that Kemp hasn’t begun running yet, playing in a regular-season game in seven weeks seems unrealistic. Kemp said Saturday at the Dodgers’ FanFest that running is the only thing he can’t do. He’s been able to do normal upper-body workouts — something he couldn’t do all of last year.

But he’s not in the best shape of his life. Hasn’t been for two years. At least now, Kemp seems realistic about this.

“I would love to play in those games” in Australia, Kemp said. “I just want to be 100 percent the whole year.”

The Dodgers can bring 30 players when they depart to Australia, but only 25 can be active in each game.

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About J.P. Hoornstra

J.P. Hoornstra covers the Dodgers, Angels and Major League Baseball for the Orange County Register, Los Angeles Daily News, Long Beach Press-Telegram, Torrance Daily Breeze, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Pasadena Star-News, San Bernardino Sun, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Whittier Daily News and Redlands Daily Facts. Before taking the beat in 2012, J.P. covered the NHL for four years. UCLA gave him a degree once upon a time; when he graduated on schedule, he missed getting Arnold Schwarzenegger's autograph on his diploma by five months.