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.”
Clayton Kershaw was scratched from Sunday’s start in San Diego. (Getty Images)
wouldn’t say so directly — he treats injury timetables like state secrets these days — but the next few days are critically important for Clayton Kershaw
First, the good news: Kershaw played catch Friday at Dodger Stadium for the first time since an MRI of his left upper back Wednesday showed inflammation of the teres major muscle. Kershaw didn’t speak to reporters, but Mattingly filled in the details of his conversation with the pitcher.
“I think in his mind that went really well,” Mattingly said. “He said he didn’t feel anything throwing. He wasn’t trying to throw 95 (mph) or anything. My next question was, ‘did you feel anything the other day?’ and he said ‘yes.’ That tells us he’s taken a little step forward. That doesn’t mean a whole lot at this point, but that means we continue on with the process moving forward. He’ll throw again tomorrow with a little more intensity and we’ll see how that goes.”
Dodgers pitching prospect Zach Lee allowed three runs in 4 2/3 Cactus League innings. (Associated Press photo)
Stephen Fife, the scheduled starter Friday, isn’t even at Dodger Stadium.
The Dodgers told Fife to stay home after he was vomiting Friday morning. Zach Lee, the 22-year-old right-hander who’s never pitched a game above Double-A, is starting in Fife’s place.
“The decision was made more that you (don’t) really want to bring a guy that’s been throwing up into the locker room,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. “The next thing you know you’ve got a whole club like that.”
Lee will face an Angels lineup featuring Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton — but no Mike Trout, who’s also battling a stomach virus.
Saturday’s starter in Anaheim for the Freeway Series finale is still to be determined. Mattingly said that either right-hander Matt Magill or right-hander Dan Haren will get the start, and that both will pitch at some point in the game.
The Dodgers’ roster will be supplemented by minor leaguers Magill (#36), C Tim Federowicz (#26), RHP Sam Demel (#38), RHP Zach Lee (#64), RHP Red Patterson (#78), C Jose Capellan (96), INF Miguel Rojas (#72), INF Corey Seager (#94), INF Darnell Sweeney (#87), OF Joc Pederson (#65), OF Trayvon Robinson (#90) and LHP Tom Windle (#97).
Here are the lineups for both teams:
Adrian Gonzalez left Thursday’s game for precautionary reasons after being hit by a pitch on the elbow in the fourth inning.
The Dodgers first baseman was wearing a pad on the elbow, but it didn’t completely protect him from the inside pitch by the Angels’ Hector Santiago in the Dodgers’ 7-5 loss in the opener of a three-game Freeway series to close out the spring.
“He said he felt like he could have kept playing,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. “He had two at-bats, was going to get one more. It didn’t seem worth it. Might as well get ice on that thing and try to keep swelling down if it’s going to be that bad.”
Mattingly is holding out hope that Gonzalez will be ready for Friday’s game against the Angels.
Hyun-Jin Ryu is one successful bullpen session from being named the Dodgers starter in the U.S. opener Sunday night in San Diego.
The second-year pitcher injured his big toe running the bases in the second of a two-game series against the Diamondbacks in Australia, bringing into question his ability to start in place of the injured Clayton Kershaw Sunday. Ryu will test the toe in a bullpen session Friday, after which the Dodgers will make their final determination about his status for Sunday.
“He looks positive,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. “With that being said, he’s going to throw a pen (Friday), so we can’t really say 100 percent where we’re going to go until we find out how that goes.”
If Ryu can’t go, Dan Haren is available to start on Sunday after he threw a successful bullpen on Thursday.