The Dodgers get a boost on Tuesday as Matt Kemp returns to the field in a game for the first time all spring. Kemp is playing center field and batting third for the Dodgers as they travel to Peoria to take on the Padres.
Kemp had surgery on his left (non-throwing) shoulder on Oct. 5, two days after the regular season ended, to repair a torn labrum and clean up the rotator cuff. He was unable to swing a bat until January and, though he was able to take part in most workouts and activities he was held out of the first week of spring training games.
After taking live batting practice on Feb. 26-27, Kemp played in his first game on Friday against the Brewers, going 0-for-2 as the designated hitter in the Dodgers' seventh Cactus League contest. Under the advice of trainer Sue Falsone, Kemp was given Saturday off, then played again as the DH Sunday, going 0-for-3 against the Indians, including a long fly out to the track in right center field.
Because the injury was to Kemp's non-throwing shoulder, manager Don Mattingly has said that Kemp would be able to play the field without any restrictions.
Earlier in the spring Kemp stated that his only goal was to be ready for opening day, and he wasn't concerned with playing right away in spring training.
"I'm not trying to be out there for the first game. We're definitely going to take it one day at a time. We're not in a rush. We have a long spring training," Kemp said. "Spring training is to get ready for the season. My main concern is being ready for opening day, which I will be, and to be healthy and ready to go."
Here are the starting lineups for Tuesday's game in Peoria:
The San Diego lineup comes courtesy of Corey Brock of MLB.com.