Just five plate appearances into his return from the disabled list after missing 14 games with a left hamstring strain, Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp might be headed back to the DL again. At the very least, he will be out a while after aggravating his left hamstring injury in the first inning in Wednesday's 6-3 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers.
Kemp felt something in his hamstring as he approached third base, on his way home from first on a double by Andre Ethier in the opening frame.
"That ball got away from the center fielder, and he looked for another gear there," manager Don Mattingly said after the game. "When he came around going into third it didn't look right to me."
Kemp figures another stint on the disabled list is likely.
"I would think so," he said when asked if would be placed on the disabled list again. "It feels worse than the first time. We'll see tomorrow. Hopefully the MRI comes back good."
The Dodgers have an MRI exam scheduled for Kemp on Thursday, just two days after he was activated. But Kemp didn't think he came back too soon.
"We went through all the tests and I was sprinting, running real hard and doing everything normal. I don't know what happened, it just gave out on me a little bit. It's nobody's fault, it just is what it is," Kemp said. "It's just what happens in sports. It happens when you're fast."
The Dodgers have lost three straight games for the first time this season, but losing Kemp is a far bigger loss, obviously.
"It's a little bit of a downer because you battled through that two-week period. Then you get him back and you're getting closer to full strength, but then you take another shot," Mattingly said. "Obviously none of us want to go through this, but at this point there's not going to be another choice if Matt's DL'd, which looks like a pretty good chance. We're not going to have a choice but to regroup and step up.
The most immediate opponent in the Dodgers' future is the MRI exam Kemp has scheduled for Thursday morning. But on the field, the Dodgers still have one more game with the Brewers, to whom they have lost five of six games this season. Chad Billingsley takes the mount on Thursday night, trying to stave off a Milwaukee sweep and end the month on a high note, facing Zack Greinke.
Can the Dodgers win? We'll find out Thursday night if they just might do it.