The Dodgers are playing the waiting game with Matt Kemp, making sure he is fully ready to return before he comes back.
It's becoming more and more likely that the Dodgers will be without center fielder Matt Kemp until after the All-Star break. Manager Don Mattingly said before Monday's game against the San Francisco Giants that Kemp, who has been on the disabled list since May 31 with his second left hamstring strain of the season, will not play in the All-Star Game if he hasn't yet played for the Dodgers by then.
Here is some perspective from four people in the Dodgers dugout before tonight's game: David Vassegh of KLAC 570 AM, Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle, and Janie McCauley of the Associated Press:
Dodgers doctors/trainers have cleared Matt Kemp to participate in HR Derby, but he won't play in AS game before he does for Dodgers.— David Vassegh (@THEREAL_DV) June 26, 2012
Mattingly said he is hoping Kemp can start a minor-league rehab assignment before the break.— Dylan Hernandez (@dylanohernandez) June 26, 2012
Just sat in on Mattingly. Said it's very unlikely Kemp will play in All-Star Game. That gives Melky another avenue to start if loses vote— Henry Schulman (@hankschulman) June 26, 2012
#Dodgers GM Ned Colletti calls it "longshot" for Matt Kemp to play in All-Star game. Slugger's recovering from strained left hamstring.— Janie McCauley (@JanieMcCAP) June 26, 2012
Kemp is the captain of the National League for the Home Run Derby, and will almost certainly be named a starting outfielder for the National League on Sunday as he has consistently been the top vote-getter in the NL since balloting results have been released.
The Dodgers are making sure Kemp doesn't rush back from the disabled list, and want to make sure he is fully ready before returning. Kemp will also need a minor league rehab assignment of at least five or six games, per Mattingly. Kemp's current stint on the DL came just two days after his last stint ended. Monday is the 38th game of the last 40 that Kemp will have missed. So far, the Dodgers are 20-17 without Kemp.
The Dodgers have 14 games remaining before the All-Star break, and it seems likely Kemp will reach the 50 games missed by Manny Ramirez during the 2009 season, albeit for different reasons, obviously. The Dodgers went 29-21 without Ramirez in 2009, and ended up winning 95 games.
Can the 2012 Dodgers, who are currently on pace for 95 wins this season, replicate their superstar-less success this season?