(Photo by-Alex Gallardo/AP)
The past two seasons have been very unstable for Los Angeles Dodgers superstar outfielder Matt Kemp. Kemp battled several injuries including shoulder, hamstring, and an ankle that resulted in surgeries.
After battling through rehab assignments, simulation activities, there was a point for many fans if we’ll see the Matt Kemp of 2011 again. After overcoming an off season of many trade rumors seeing Kemp out of Los Angeles, the Dodgers made it clear that they have confidence that Kemp could still perform at a high level when healthy.
Kemp skipped the trip to Australia, stayed stateside in Arizona at Camelback Ranch to continue to rehab and work on his game. The ever ready star made it clear he was an everyday outfielder, despite the plans that manager Don Mattingly may have had dealing with a four man outfield.
Kemp reminded everyone that BeastMode is alive and well on Sunday in the 6-2 victory over the rival San Francisco Giants at Dodger Stadium.
“That’s when I know I’m seeing the ball good, when I drive the ball to right field like that,” Kemp told ESPNLosAngeles.com. “That’s my swing right there.”
In the second inning Kemp connected on home run over the wall in left field. Later in the fourth inning, Kemp crushed a fastball off of Matt Cain, for a tow run homer over the right field wall.
Kemp was back, and he let everyone know it in a big way.
He struck the ball with confidence in batting practice during spring and before games in the regular season.
“We’ve got a long road ahead of us,” Kemp said. “But I hope the beast is back.“
Kemp showed no effects from his off season surgery, and before Sunday’s game, hadn’t homered at Dodger Stadium since September 2012.
Kemp had surgery on his left shoulder last season from running into a wall at Coors Field in Colorado, chasing down a ball. He returned for the 2013 season, only playing in 73 games due to hamstring and ankle issues.
Now Kemp is focused on the 2014 season, and plans to go healthy all season, helping the Dodgers win a World Series Titles, and as many games along the way.
“I just feel great,” Kemp said. “Let’s just talk about this win and go on to the next thing.”
If Kemp can bring this offensive stability every game, along with Hanley Ramirez, Adrian Gonzalez, Yasiel Puig swinging the bat every night, the Dodgers could have one of the most powerful line ups in baseball.
Zack Greinke picked up the victory over the Giants also shared his thoughts on the importance of Kemp in the line up. “I’ve never seen Matt being the player he is,” Greinke said. “And Hanley is on a different level. If he’s like he was today, you don’t want to face this lineup if that’s the case.”
Once Clayton Kershaw and Brian Wilson return healthy that will also bring some strong depth into the bullpen for the Dodgers.
Kemp is truly an everyday outfielder, it would be incredibly incumbent of Mattingly to see to it that Kemp gets as much playing time as possible. It’s great seeing Kemp back in the line up, his presence was truly missed the past two seasons.
Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly and outfielder Yasiel Puig continue to build their relationship with one another, after some controversial comments were made by Mattingly during the Australia trip.
Puig went 3-for-5 with a double and two RBIs in Sunday’s 7-5 win against the Diamondbacks. After a ninth inning strike out, Puig left the game and headed to the locker room.
Mattingly told reporters after the Dodgers victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks, about Puig’s status with the team.
“I guess his back. Shoulder yesterday, back today, so I’m not sure if they’re going to get him tests or get him to the MRI Monday or a bone scan on Tuesday, maybe. I’m not quite sure what we’ll do. We may not do anything.”
Of course cooler heads prevailed and after a conversation with Puig, Mattingly said “We’re good. I’ve got no issues with Yasiel.” Both met with each other on Tuesday to iron everything out
Mattingly went on to say, “I know Yasiel is a huge lightning rod, and anything I say is a huge story and anything he does is a huge story. Maybe I should have been more clear — the before and after were two different things.“
After returning to Los Angeles, Puig received an MRI on his lower back that showed no damage, however did receive treatment. He’s expected to be ready and playing in the season opener against the San Diego Padres on March 30th.
Puig is still learning the system, but is a huge talent that will continue to improve over time.
Dodgers starter Hyun Jin Ryu could miss his next start against the Padres due to a torn toenail that he suffered in Australia. Ryu make a sudden and quick stop at third base against the Diamondback, where the injury occurred.
Mattingly said that they will make an official ruling on Ryu’s status closer to his start day.
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)
Dodgers starter Zack Greinke left yesterday’s game after four pitches, due to a mild calf strain in his right leg.
Greinke struck out Tony Campana, and threw a few pitches to Cliff Pennington before Don Mattingly decided to retire Greinke for the afternoon.
Greinke felt some tightness in his calf, “we deal with small stuff all the time, and I think that’s what this is. We’ll see, but that’s my guess,” said Greinke. “I’d still be pitching if this were a regular season game.”
Greinke made sure to let his thoughts be known how he was in favor of his team taking the long trip to Australia.
Since then Greinke has relaxed his stance on the down under issue, sort of.
“If we’re going to be there, I want to pitch,” Greinke said. “My vote if we had to go over there, was not going. But more people wanted to go than not, so now that we are going, I want to be there. I don’t want to not go and have the rest of the team play with me sitting here watching. I also don’t want to go there and not pitch.”
Each day Greinke will go through ice and theraphy related treatment on his calf, until a diagnosis can be reached.
He will be ready to pitch again in time for the regular season.
On Friday Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp gets an update on the progress of his surgically repaired ankle. Since the off-season and in Spring Training, Kemp has worked vigorously to return stronger for the 2014 season. Able to only workout and taking batting practice, good news for Kemp would be a relief where he’ll be able to practice with the rest of his teammates.
Manager Don Mattingly is optimistic that Kemp will return, however still unsure of his timetable. “I’m assuming once we get the green light to go forward, it’s still going to be a progression to get him ready,” Mattingly told the LA Times.
The results of the MRI on his ankle will determine whether he moves on to the next phase of his rehab. If all goes well, Kemp could be ready in time for the March 30th season opener against the Padres in San Diego. Or he may be available for the Dodgers home opener on March 4th.
Kemp has maintained his stance, that he wants to be a Dodger for life, and this is the year of opportunity to prove his worth to the team and organization.
With a roller coaster of a season this Los Angeles Dodgers team has embodied this season, being that it is tinsel town, one can’t escape the irony of drama that surrounds the future of Don Mattingly.
Mattingly has been openly criticized not only by members of the media including myself, and also by Dodger fans for his questionable yet risky decisions this entire season.
One of the brightest baseball minds in the game, knows talent, and grasp the game better than most.
Once said by Bill Parcells, you are what your record says you are.
A team that was once 9.5 games out of first place and 12 games under .500 in his third year as manager, he did not make a great impression on the Dodger ownership and members of the clubhouse.
Mattingly’s response was always just let my guys get healthy and we’ll make it referring to his players. Many of the fans and media recited in unison the famous Jay-Z line “we don’t believe you…you need more people.”
Well Mattingly looked like a prophet of the biggest kind, because his team became healthy and emerged from the crevices of bottom of the NL West to an impressive 42-8 over the next two months and captured the NL West title. After making some trades that bulked up their infield, and ascending past the Arizona Diamondbacks into the playoffs.
Mattingly had battled not only through his team’s injuries, but termination rumors, warranted and unwarranted criticisms, and still he rises in the midst of the NLCS against the formidable opponents known as the St. Louis Cardinals.
Even though the Dodgers are on the brink of elimination trailing 3-1 in the series against the Cardinals, Mattingly still believes in his team.
“We don’t have a lot of time to feel sorry for ourselves. We’ll be ready to play and that’s all there is to it,” Mattingly told CBS.com.
What was the turning point, many of us would say that fateful series against the Milwaukee Brewers. A time where Mattingly faced a serious crossroads if he didn’t lead his team in the right direction.
According to reports from CBS.com the Dodgers are prepared to offer him a possible multi year deal as manager. No one from the Dodgers organization nor Mattingly has commented publicly on the report. Worst case scenario, the Dodgers would pick up his option year estimated at $1.5 million.
The Dodgers finished 92-70 during the regular season and the sky is the limit, the only person standing in the way of the Dodgers success is Mattingly himself.
Does Don Mattingly deserve to be brought back as manager? At this point yes, he defied the odds, and time will tell if he will continue to defy the odds and bring a World Series championship back to Los Angeles. Something that no manager has be able to accomplish that since Tommy Lasorda in 1988.
Hyun Jin Ryu out pitched Adam Wainwright in a pitchers duel, along with Yasiel Puig breaking out of his slump with a huge hit that aided the Dodgers over the St Louis Cardinals 3-0.
The Dodgers still trail the Cards 2-1 in the NLCS series, and still have games four and five at Dodger Stadium.
“The playoffs are one-day momentum swings,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. “Right now I feel like we’ve kind of grabbed it.”
The Dodgers jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the fourth inning thanks to an RBI double to right that scored Mark Ellis.
Yasiel Puig connected on a pitch he thought would leave the Ravine, watched it sail into right raising his hands in excitement. Puig later saw it bounce off the wall and began to run the bases and ended up at third while clapping his hands igniting the sellout crowd. Carlos Beltran misplayed the ball that bounced off the wall and afforded Puig the triple.
Beltran spoke about the celebration of Puig during that play, “I’m in the outfield,” he said. “I mean, it’s not great. To me, I don’t like it. But what can I say? I don’t play for them. I just play over here. I just need to do my job. It is what it is. As a player, I just think he doesn’t know about how to act.”
Hanley Ramirez obviously felt differently about his fellow teammate, “he brings unbelievable energy every day. When we spoke to him, he told me, ‘I got it today,’ and he did. He’s a great player.”
With Puig stepping out of his slump, the Dodgers got another boost with Andre Ethier and Hanley Ramirez returned to the line up, which provided them an added boost of momentum and offense.
Ramirez connected on a hit off Wainwright, Carl Crawford burned the bases as he barely beat a tag from Cards catcher Yadier Molina that extended the Dodgers lead in the eight inning 3-0.
“What can I say? It couldn’t be better,” Ramirez said. “Really happy we got the first win. Just come back tomorrow and even up the series.”
Kanley Jansen pitched a perfect inning and picked up the save for the victory.
Adam Wainwright began the game 4-0, picked up the loss. He pitched seven innings and gave up two runs, six hits and seven strike outs on the night.
“I felt like tonight if I had got a couple of balls in there, we win the game. I think you just have to tip your hat and move on,” said Wainwright. “I hate to lose like this!”
Ryu was successful in not giving up any runs in the first inning, and picked up his first postseason win as a rookie.
He looked healthier as he sat down 12 out 13 batters on the night. He went seven great innings, gave up three hits along with capturing four strikeouts.
“It’s definitely a big motivation when you see your star players go out there hurt,” Ryu said through a translator. “It really inspires you and motivates you to go out there and do the best you can.”
The Cards didn’t get their first hit until the fifth inning when David Freese got a base hit to right.
“We just had a lot of balls in the air tonight that hit the ground that normally don’t,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. “We’re a better club than this.”