(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.
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)
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.
Looking forward to a prosperous and productive 2014 season, Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp could be rotated sometime during season due to a crowded outfield. Kemp is joined by Yasiel Puig, Carl Crawford, and Andre Ethier which makes a tough decision for manager Don Mattingly to choose from.
Carl Crawford felt strongly that all of the outfielders could start for any team in MLB. However their health has been a constant issue that has plagued this team for a while. Crawford does believe that retaining all four outfielders will be key in helping the Dodger win a lot of games.
Matt Kemp’s attitude on the subject was not as diplomatic, when he spoke to the Los Angeles Times.
“I’m not a fourth outfielder. We can cut that question off right now. That’s the last question you have to ask me. I’m not a fourth outfielder. I’m not going to be a fourth outfielder. I’m here to help my team win and play every day. We can stop right there.”
Kemp is a big time talent, and has shown he has all the talent, work ethic known as “BeastMode“, in the world, and financially should be an everyday starter. But obviously one of them will have to sit out at some point.
Ethier, Puig and Kemp have the best chances of staying on everyday, which could leave Crawford the odd man out. It will come down to whoever is the healthiest, and for Kemp this could be the last opportunity for him to make a statement, and be a mainstay for the Dodgers like Derek Jeter is to the Yankees.
Kemp has quite a bit to prove, as the last two season were not favorable to him due to injuries. Along with the reports being that he will not be ready for the two game Australia trip battle against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Kemp better be ready by Opening Day at Dodger Stadium and remain healthy for the season.
If the 2011 Kemp shows up this season, he’ll be fine, now he has to go out and execute what he said many times during the off season, and continue to prove he’s worth the $180 million the Dodgers invested in him.
The Dodgers have high expectations of making a World Series appearance this season, Kemp’s hitting should help Puig, Hanley Ramirez, and Adrian Gonzalez tremendously this year in the lineup. Kemp could aid them in hoisting that trophy at the end of this season, by showcasing that premier hitting and fielding.
Dodgers slugger Matt Kemp who is recovering from off season shoulder surgery, and is said to look leaner and in better shape. Kemp is ready to be the leadership voice inside the Dodgers clubhouse. Despite his declarations and goals for the season to just simply remain healthy, his attitude is ready for the Dodgers to take their commanding place in the National League.
Kemp’s attitude and presence is truly being felt inside the Spring Training clubhouse at Camelback Ranch from him singing loudly to his favorite music, to horsing around with with various pitchers. To slapping Hanley Ramirez along the back, his energy is infectious amongst all of his teammates. He is as positive as he is loud and connecting, there is no question that the chemistry is imperative to the success of this 2013 Dodgers team.
“We brought in a lot of guys, but this is Matt’s team, and everybody in here wants it to be Matt’s team. He’s such a big player, such a big personality, it should be his team,” said Mark Ellis Dodgers second baseman.
Despite the other primetime players on this team like Andre Either, Adrian Gonzales, Hanley Ramirez, Zack Greinke, or Clayton Kershaw, Kemp simply has that magic touch.
Kemp has truly stepped into elite company with being a public leader of a major franchise, like Kobe Bryant with the Lakers, or Chris Paul with the Clippers, now Kemp has an opportunity to stand an deliver. And looks ready to not only lead verbally but most importantly by example.
Kemp is focused, as he discussed his recent weight loss and his readiness to lead this team to a championship. “I’m playing center field, so I can’t be out there and be all heavy and try to run around and make plays like Mike Trout. I have to be light to do things like that.” Kemp gave props to the Angels superstar, who was last season’s AL Rookie of the Year.
Kemp will not only have to stay healthy, but reach back to his amazing 2011 season, where he put up MVP type numbers in order to take this team higher heights this season.