Matt Kemp says he'll be ready to play home opener April 4

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Spor

LOS ANGELES -- Matt Kemp rejoined the Dodgers on Friday after playing in minor league games the last two weeks at Camelback Ranch in Arizona, and the Dodgers center fielder said he'll be ready to play in the home opener on April 4 against the Giants, the first game he is eligible to be activated from the disabled list.

"I've definitely checkmarked everything, and I'm ready to go," Kemp said before Friday night's game against the Angels at Dodger Stadium.

Kemp had ankle surgery in October and was limited for much of spring training from running, while he recovered. He played outfield for the first time in camp on March 12 and has spent most of the last two weeks playing center field in minor league games.

He said he felt much more comfortable running, and even stole a few bases.

"One of my biggest obstacles was trying to slide and see how that would feel," he said. "But I've conquered that."

Kemp was placed on the DL on March 21 when the Dodgers set their Opening Day roster in Australia. The Dodgers because of their early start to the season are allowed to back date any disabled list stints to March 19, two days earlier than 28 other teams. Kemp will be eligible as early as next Friday's home opener, though while on the DL is ineligible to play in any Freeway Series games this weekend.

Kemp will continue to workout with the team and will occasionally take additional live batting practice. On Monday for instance, the off day in San Diego, Kemp will face fellow disabled list resident Josh Beckett at Petco Park.

Manager Don Mattingly was a little more cautious, though also optimistic.

"Matt feels good. I don't want to throw a timetable out there just because I don't want there to be a setback and we're not 100 percent sure. He feels like he can go play," Mattingly said. "We'll see how it goes this week."

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