One day after Matt Kemp was removed in a double switch in the seventh inning of a one-run game, the struggling center fielder is out of the starting lineup for the Dodgers on Sunday in their series finale against the Cardinals at Dodger Stadium.
"He hasn't had a day off in a while. I see some of the frustration he's been having. This guy (Shelby Miller, Cardinals starter) has been pretty good against righties," said manager Don Mattingly. "He'll be back in there tomorrow."
Miller has held right-handed batters to hitting just .177/.248/.301 this season (though left-handers haven't fared much better, at .202/.253/.258). Left-handed Skip Schumaker starts in center field in place of Kemp.
Mattingly insisted Kemp sitting on Sunday had nothing to do with the center fielder's outburst in the dugout on Saturday upon being removed. The two met on Sunday morning.
"I talked to him this morning. I just wanted him to know it was just a baseball decision," Mattingly said. "I understand the frustration. Kershaw has yelled at me before. Punto has yelled at me before. That's just part of the game. I don't mind guys getting mad at me."
Kemp is hitting just .261/.313/.344 with two home runs in 47 games this season, and is in a 5-for-31 (.161) slump with 15 strikeouts and three walks in his last eight games. Kemp has played all 47 games this season, and the only game he didn't start, before Sunday, was Apr. 17.
"Matt not playing today is the best thing for him. It's the best thing for us. We're giving him a little breather. It's his second day off all year," Mattingly said. "We start looking at matchups, Matt's frustration, and that he hasn't had a day off in a while. It just fits."
Roster move coming Monday
Jerry Hairston returned to the Dodgers clubhouse on Sunday after two minor league rehab games with Class-A Rancho, ready to be activated. But the Dodgers decided instead to wait until Monday, giving Hairston a day off.
Luis Cruz remains the most likely candidate to go, and he said the bone spurs in his right elbow haven't bothered him since last weekend in Atlanta. Scott Van Slyke has a stiff neck, though Mattingly said a DL-stint was unlikely for the outfielder / first baseman. Van Slyke is available to pinch hit on Sunday.
Mattingly said Hairston's role will depend on Van Slyke's health. "If Slyker's here, Jerry's an infielder. If Slyker's not here, Jerry's an outfielder," Mattingly said.
Time: 1:10 p.m.
TV: Prime Ticket