Matt Kemp on CF return: 'It's good to be back out there'

Eric Stephen | True Blue LA

Kemp played center field for the Dodgers on Tuesday against the Padres in Peoria, the first time he has done so in a game since Oct. 3.

Matt Kemp went 0-for-3 on Tuesday for the Dodgers against the Padres, and he's 0-for-8 to start spring training. But more importantly, the two-time All-Star returned to center field in a game for the first time since offseason surgery on his left shoulder.

Kemp, who proclaimed himself completely pain free on Tuesday, was designated hitter in his first two Cactus League games.

"You get to be more into the game. DH-ing is a little different. You have to hype yourself up, sitting around a little bit," Kemp said. "When you're out there in the field, you're running around and into the game more. So it's good to be back out there."

Kemp grounded out to shortstop in the first inning, then flew out to the warning track in center field in the second, both off Padres starter Jason Marquis. Much like his long fly ball to the right center field wall at Camelback Ranch on Sunday, Kemp said it felt good off the bat.

"I don't know how the wind was blowing, but it looked like it knocked it down a little bit. I hit the ball pretty hard. That's happened to me the last two games," Kemp said. "As long as I hit the ball hard, that's a good sign. They'll fall during the season."

Kemp in his final at-bat struck out swinging against right-hander Tyson Ross. Under the advice of trainer Sue Falsone, manager Don Mattingly held Kemp out of the game Saturday, after his first start, to give him a day off after each of his first two games, including Monday's team off day. But with the Dodgers playing split squad action on Wednesday and Kemp feeling healthy, he will see his first back-to-back game action of the spring.

"Hopefully I'll play tomorrow. I wouldn't mind playing the regular schedule as I would during spring training. Usually it's two games on, one game off," Kemp said. "We'll see tomorrow, I'll look at the board to see if I'm in there. Hopefully I'm playing, but if not I'll be working out and chilling."

After the game, Mattingly said Kemp will play center field again on Wednesday, staying at Camelback Ranch to start against Team Mexico in an exhibition game prior to the World Baseball Classic.

WBC update

Hanley Ramirez was the designated hitter for the Dominican Republic on Tuesday in an exhibition against the Phillies in Clearwater, Fla., and was part of the onslaught in a ... win over Philadelphia. Ramirez went 4-for-6 at the plate with three runs, three runs batted in, two doubles against Cole Hamels, and this home run against former Esperanza High School pitcher Jonathan Pettibone.

Team Venezuela, with relief pitcher Ronald Belisario, battles the Marlins in Jupiter at 4:05 p.m. PT.

Adrian Gonzalez, Luis Cruz, Javy Guerra, and Team Mexico take on the Diamondbacks at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick in Scottsdale at 6:10 p.m. PT.

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