Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp declares himself ‘ready to go.’

Matt Kemp

Matt Kemp returned to Dodger Stadium after playing his final minor-league spring training game Thursday. (Associated Press)

Matt Kemp was back at Dodger Stadium on Friday and he didn’t mince words.

“Rehab sucks,” he said. “Getting something to feel better, and it won’t feel better, just takes time. Some of these injuries I’ve had, it’s not rehabbing. It’s taking time.”

As often as he’s pledged not to play until he’s 100 percent healthy, Kemp’s patience is about to be tested in a new way. He underwent major surgery on the talus bone in his left ankle in October and wasn’t cleared to run or slide until his teammates had begun playing spring-training games.

Friday, Kemp said he’s healthy.

Again, not mincing words: “I’m not missing anything now. I’m ready to go.”

But he won’t be able to play in the Freeway Series against the Angels because major-league rules prohibit players on the disabled list from playing in games with a counted, paid attendance. There are no more minor-league spring training games for Kemp to get ready. Which is fine, apparently, since Kemp believes he’s ready now.

“There’s been a lot of rehab going on the past year and a half,” he said. “If it’s not one thing, it’s another. Hopefully all that’s behind us. It’s time to play some baseball.”

According to the Dodgers, who collected a partial list of Kemp’s minor-league spring training stats, he batted .113 (6-for-53) with a home run and two stolen bases. Here’s how that breaks down:

DATE

AB

R

H

RBI

BB

K

INN IN FIELD

NOTES

10-Mar

5

0

1

2

2

1

12-Mar

6

0

0

0

0

0

13-Mar

6

0

0

0

0

0

2.0 in CF

15-Mar

2

0

1

0

0

0

3.0 in CF

17-Mar

3

0

0

0

1

2

4.0 in CF

18-Mar

3

0

0

0

1

0

20-Mar

5

0

0

0

0

3

???

CS

21-Mar

4

2

2

4

0

0

5.0 in CF Homered to left, doubled to left

23-Mar

5

0

0

0

0

3

5.0 in CF

25-Mar

5

0

1

0

0

0

6.0 in CF Singled to center

26-Mar

4

0

0

0

0

0

???

SB

27-Mar

5

0

1

0

1

0

8.0 in CF Double, 2 SB

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said that Kemp will face Dodgers pitcher Josh Beckett in live batting practice Monday at Petco Park, an off-day between games against the San Diego Padres.

Kemp is eligible to return from the disabled list Friday when the Dodgers host the Giants in their home opener. Mattingly wouldn’t say whether Kemp will be on the field by then.

“I don’t want to throw a timetable out because I don’t want it to be a setback if we’re not 100 percent sure of it,” Mattingly said. “Right now everything went fairly well for Matt. I think he feels good. He’s said all along we’ll make sure that he can go play and actually be himself.”

Kemp certainly sounded like himself Friday: confident and eager to be on the field.

“I’ll continue to stay positive,” he said. “If I start off slow, it is what it is. It’s baseball. We have 162 games. That’s not the plan. The plan is to come out strong and help the team.”

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About J.P. Hoornstra

J.P. Hoornstra covers the Dodgers, Angels and Major League Baseball for the 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.