Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp has continued to progress in rehabbing from his off season ankle surgery, that has kept him out of his action this Spring.
After positive test results that enable him to progress in more workouts that include tracking down fly balls and running on the field, manager Don Mattingly feels strongly that Kemp will return sooner. “I don’t put that kind of timetable on it,” Mattingly told MLB.com. “As long as he’s moving forward.“
Kemp continues to eye his return this season, although he will not be available for the Australia trip on March 22-23 against Arizona.
“I’m out there running again, I am happy. I’m good,” Matt Kemp said regarding his progress. He could make a return during the first week of the season at Dodger Stadium.
“He’s swinging the bat good. It won’t be long before he’s in a game,” said Mattingly.
The important factor is to get Kemp healthy and last throughout the season, unlike his previous two seasons where he played a total of 179 games.
*(Photo By: Jon SooHoo)
During the 2014 Dodgers Fan Fest at Dodger Stadium, Yasiel Puig addressed some off the field issues with SportNetLA host Alanna Rizzo.
Rizzo interpreted for Puig, when she asked him about the latest speeding and reckless driving charge in Florida, that was recently dropped.
“Nada“, Puig joked in front of the crowd. “I was driving fast. It was my fault. I’m not ever going to drive fast. Or slow. I now have a driver. I want to apologize to the city of Los Angeles and to these fans. I’m done with speeding.“
This was the second incident that involved reckless driving, where he was cited for driving 110 mph in a 70 mph zone. The first incident happened when he was a member of the AA Chattanooga Lookouts, when he drove approximately 97 mph in a 50 mph zone.
Puig continues to mature and grow as a player on and off the field, and as the Dodgers have been patient with him, so do many of the fans and society. The culture is new to him, and the 23 year old has taken a step in the right direction by hiring his cousin to drive him around.
Puig has been visual this off season, whether it’s been working out with teammate, pitcher Hyun Jin Ryu, or assisting kids around the Los Angeles area with baseball clinics.
Puig finished second in the rookie of the year voting behind Jose Fernandez of the Miami Marlins. He hit .319 with 19 home runs last season.
He was the boost of energy the Dodgers needed last season, and the team hopes he can continue to be that on and off the field.
Puig is loved by fans, and as he exited the stage, threw his hat into the crowd as fans scrambled to capture it.
Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp hasn’t had the greatest 2013 season, battling his way through injuries suffered to his ankle, hamstring, and shoulder.
Kemp has been the subject of trade rumors the entire off season, so it will take a spectacular 2014 to keep him off the trading block. The Dodgers currently have four outfielders that include Yasiel Puig, Carl Crawford, and Andre Ethier on the roster.
“My shoulder feels great, my ankle is still healing but coming along,” said Kemp to the LA Daily News. “I’m on the verge of doing something great.”
Kemp’s agent Dave Steward says he won’t be ready in time for the March 22nd -23rd trip to Australia. But Kemp has enough time to make his season debut on Opening Day at Dodger Stadium on April 4th.
Kemp who refuses to be a fourth outfielder will have an opportunity to prove that status this season. The key for him to staying Los Angeles in a Dodger uniform is to remain healthy for the season, and participate in the playoffs.
Kemp looks to resurrect “BeastMode” this season, and have a 2014 that is complimentary of the 2011 MVP type year.
Between the solid clutch performance of starter Zack Greinke and two home runs powered by Adrian Gonzalez, the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the St. Louis Cardinals 6-4. Which now forces a game six back in St. Louis on Friday.
Greinke didn’t start begin with his best pitching, however he worked himself out of a bases loaded jam that ended the first inning.
On the brink of elimination, the Dodgers came out with a sense of urgency, as Juan Uribe connected on a single to center that scored Adrian Gonzalez for the 1-0 lead. Greinke helped his own cause when he connected on a single to left that scored Yasiel Puig for the 2-0 as the crowd erupted in celebration.
“That was big. I was real nervous out there with that situation,” Greinke said.
The Cards would quiet the Dodger Stadium crowd when they charged back with two runs of their own in the third, when Carlos Beltran knocked out a RBI triple and Matt Holiday connected on an RBI single.
The Dodgers exploded in the next few innings with home runs from Gonzalez, AJ Ellis, and Carl Crawford for the huge 6-2 lead.
“Guys weren’t ready to lose today,” said Crawford.
When Gonzalez went back to the dugout after his second home run, brought his hands behind his ears and wiggled them like mouse ears. A clear gesture towards the comments that were made in Game 4 by pitcher Adam Wainwright about Gonzalez doing “Mickey Mouse stuff”.
“It’s just having fun,” Gonzalez said. “I’m going to retire them so they’re not talked about once again.”
Brian Wilson had a brilliant performance shutdown performance in the eight inning against the Cards. Wilson’s stock continued to rise with that masterful performance, and his efforts throughout the series.
Kenley Jansen came in the ninth inning and struggled when he gave up two RBI singles to Mike Adams and Pete Kozma that made it a two run game. Jansen settled down for the final out that allowed the Dodgers to live for another game.
The Dodgers trailed the Cards 3-2 in the best of seven series.
Greinke pitched seven concrete innings, allowing two runs on six hits with four strike outs in the win.
“He wasn’t as sharp as he was the first time we faced him,” Beltran said about Greinke. “But guys like that, the best guys in the game, they’re able to regroup and find a way to help their team win.”
Cards starter Joe Kelly gave up four runs and seven hits in five innings of work in the loss.
“We had a couple of opportunities to do something, and we just couldn’t make it happen,” manager Mike Matheny said.
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly had a slightly different outlook on the next upcoming games in St. Louis.
“We’ve kind of become America’s team because everyone wants to see a seventh game,” Mattingly said. “Probably even the fans in St. Louis would like to see a seventh game, so I figure that everybody’s for us to win on Friday night.”
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly took no chances on closing out the series on this night. Clayton Kershaw was phenomenal and Juan Uribe sealed the 4-3 Dodgers win over the Atlanta Braves, with a big home run.
The Dodgers won the series 3-1, and advanced to the NLCS for the first time since 2009. They will face the winner of the Pittsburgh Pirates vs. St. Louis Cardinals series.
“We’ve moved one step closer, and we don’t have to get back on a plane tomorrow. It’s a good feeling,” said Mattingly.
Carl Crawford made sure Kershaw’s start would not be in vein as he homered twice, once in the first and once in the third inning for the 2-0 lead.
Braves third baseman Chris Johnson connected on an RBI single that scored Freddie Freeman, and later Andrelton Simmons grounded into a fielders choice and Evan Gattis tied the game at 2-2 in the fourth inning.
Kershaw pitched six solid innings where he didn’t give a run, was replaced by Ronald Belisario. Belisario gave up a run to Jose Constanza, and Braves took the lead 3-2 lead in the seventh inning.
Brian Wilson pitched a perfect eight inning and was awarded the victory.
With Yasiel Puig on base after hitting a double, Juan Uribe connected on a two run home run after two failed bunt attempts for the 4-3 lead.
“This moment today, I’ll never forget! I think a lot of people feel like that,” said Uribe.
“The smile on his face when he hit that homer is priceless,” Mattingly said.
Kenley Jansen slammed the door shut with a brilliant ninth inning for the save as Jansen and AJ Ellis celebrated the victory on the field.
“This team has a lot of fun. We don’t think about being the team to beat and all that stuff. We just go out there and play and try to have fun,” Crawford said.
With a sellout crowd, fans celebrated with the Dodgers, Kershaw, Puig, and some other players high fived and talked with fans as they ran across the field.
“They were loud,” Kershaw said. “They want it just as much as we do.” Kershaw continued about what this win meant to the team, “there’s a handful of guys that have never gotten to do that before.”
David Carpenter took the loss after he gave up the two run homer to Uribe.
“To end the way it did tonight, it’s going to hurt. It’s going to be a long way back,” Fredi Gonzalez said. “But tip your hat to the Dodgers and congratulate Donnie and his staff.”
The Los Angeles Dodgers capitalized on a pivotal Game 3, with a blowout 13-6 win over the Atlanta Braves on Sunday night. The Dodgers took a 2-1 series lead in the best of five series at Dodger Stadium.
After starter Hyun Jin Ryu gave up two runs in the first inning, Ryu connected on sacrifice fly that scored Yasiel Puig. Later in the inning, Carl Crawford crushed a three run homer that scored AJ Ellis and Juan Uribe as the Dodgers led 4-2.
“Guys were unhappy with the way they played, so we wanted to get back to playing the way we did the first game,” Crawford said. “We knew it was going to be at home in front of our home crowd, and we were going to have some extra energy for that.”
The Braves fought back with two runs in the third inning capped off by Chris Johnson who grounded into a fielder choice play that allowed Freddie Freeman to score.
With back to back singles by Adrian Gonzalez and Skip Schumaker the Dodger regained the lead 6-4.
After Ryu was pulled by manager Don Mattingly in favor of lefty Chris Capuano (1-0), the Dodgers exploded offensively in the fourth and eight innings and jumped out to a 13-4 lead.
Crawford made the defensive play of the game in the eight inning when dove over the left field wall and caught a foul ball for the out.
“I’m fine. I landed in a way it didn’t hurt. I didn’t think the ball was going to go into the stands. It kept floating and I didn’t see the wall coming. I felt myself flipping over. Good thing is I held onto the ball, so that’s all that matters,” said Crawford.
Reliever Paco Rodriguez struggled to get the final out in the ninth inning, and allowed a two run home run by Jason Heyward, the Braves still trailed 13-6.
Mattingly made another chance and allowed Kenley Jansen to finish the job for the victory.
The electric sellout Dodger crowd was loud and in full force with the blue rally towels that were handed out.
Braves starter Julio Teheran gave up six runs and eight hits in 2 2/23 innings of work for the loss.
“I didn’t have my best, and I tried my best. It was just one of those games that you do everything, and the things don’t go as you expect,” said Teheran.
Ryu also had a terrible outing in his rookie playoff debut and gave up four runs on six hits in three innings of work.
“I felt a little more anxious than compared to those games,” Ryu said through a translator.
Working as a correspondent reporter for @SportSpeakLA, I had the opportunity to speak with some fans who attended the 2014 Dodgers Fan Fest presented by State Farm.