Matt Kemp to continue minor league rehab through Sunday, at least

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Spor

Kemp will continue to rehab in Rancho Cucamonga through at least Sunday as he tries to regain his timing at the plate after missing six weeks with a left ankle sprain.

LOS ANGELES - Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp will continue his minor league rehab assignment through at least Sunday, and his time with Class-A Rancho Cucamonga could last longer depending on his timing at the plate. Kemp will serve as the designated hitter for the Quakes on Saturday and Sunday, then be reevaluated.

Kemp was 0-for-8 in his first two rehab games with the Quakes, coming back from a left ankle sprain suffered on July 21. Manager Don Mattingly watched video of Kemp's at-bats and talked to the outfielder, who was DH on Thursday and played center field on Friday.

"The at-bats are the biggest thing. We're not worried about center field," Mattingly said. "We're just trying to get him comfortable. His timing doesn't sound very good. He's not comfortable with where he's at. It's not quite the same but it's a little like spring training. It's hard to jump in there against 94-95 mph if you haven't seen it regularly."

Mattingly said Kemp would likely get at least three at-bats on Saturday.

Rancho Cucamonga ends their regular season on Monday but still has a shot at qualifying for the playoffs, which could give Kemp more potential rehab games if needed. Or, Kemp could bat in simulated games either with the team or in Arizona. But none of that has been decided yet, and won't be before Sunday.

"We'll wait a couple more days and see where Matt is at," Mattingly said. "Matt doesn't want to come back and not swing the bat good. It's to his advantage to be ready, sharper when he comes back."

Notes

  • Longtime Dodgers broadcaster Ross Porter, who called Dodgers games from 1977-2004, will throw out a ceremonial first pitch before Saturday's game.
  • Mattingly said he has discussed with pitching coach Rick Honeycutt when Edinson Volquez may start, but as of now nothing has been determined. It likely won't come until after the Dodgers are in Cincinnati. With an off day Thursday, that will give the starting rotation an extra day of rest. But the series against the Reds starts a stretch of 17 games in 17 days for the Dodgers, so it's likely Volquez would be slotted in once or twice during that span to help give rest to the other starters.
  • The September call-ups, which will likely come in waves starting Sunday (with Drew Butera, Scott Van Slyke, Stephen Fife and possibly Dee Gordon likely among the first up from Triple-A Albuquerque), but Mattingly didn't want to announce anything yet because not all the players have been told.
  • Mattingly was cagey when asked if Onelki Garcia, who is not on the 40-man roster, could be one of the promotions, giving the Dodgers a third left-handed pitcher in the bullpen. "I've heard his name," Matingly said. Garcia, drafted in the third round by the Dodgers in 2012, held left-handed batters to just .159/.298/.159 between Double-A Chattanooga and Triple-A Albuquerque.
  • Julio Urias, the 17-year-old wunderkind who was pitching well in the Midwest League at age 16, was shut down for the rest of the season on Saturday after reaching his limit of 70 innings. Urias was 2-0 with a 2.48 ERA with Class-A Great Lakes with 67 strikeouts and just 16 walks in 54⅓ innings. He also threw 15 innings in extended spring training. The Loons' regular season ends Monday but they are in the Midwest League playoffs. "We’re excited about Julio’s development and we look forward to his future and seeing his growth," Great Lakes manager Razor Shines said. "He’s going to stay with the ballclub to experience playoff baseball but won’t pitch."
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