When the Dodgers open their season against the Diamondbacks on March 22, don't expect Matt Kemp to be patrolling center field in Australia. Kemp's agent, Dave Stewart, spoke with Jon Morosi of Fox Sports on Tuesday giving an update on Kemp's status, recovering from ankle and shoulder surgeries.
Dave Stewart, agent for Matt Kemp, told me Kemp is swinging, running at 60%, and "getting close" to being himself after ankle surgery.— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) January 21, 2014
Stewart said he doesn’t think Kemp will be ready for 3/22 opener in Australia. "If the season opened April 1, I think Matt would be ready."— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) January 21, 2014
This isn't exactly news, that Kemp might not be ready in March. Two weeks ago at the Dodgers winter development program in Los Angeles, general manager Ned Colletti said the team would play it slow with Kemp.
"We're not rushing it, We're going to take it as deliberately and cautiously as possible," Colletti said. "As of now we expect him to be ready to be playing by the time we're in the midst of spring training."
The Dodgers open their spring scheduled on February 26, and conclude Cactus League play in Arizona on March 16. It stands to reason that, coming off two surgeries, Kemp might be better served by not rushing back in action.
Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times also spoke with Stewart:
Dave Stewart emphasized that Kemp has not suffered a setback in his rehabilitation and said he was telling Kemp to consider postponing his season debut only a precaution.
“His biggest issue with injuries has been trying to get back too soon,” Dave Stewart said. “I’m urging him to make sure he’s totally healthy.”
The Dodgers open the domestic portion of their regular season on Sunday, March 30 in San Diego against the Padres. Will an extra week or so be enough for Kemp to be ready? My guess is the Dodgers will take Kemp at or near 100%, whether it takes some extra time into the season or not.