The Dodgers got some good news as center fielder Matt Kemp will begin a minor league rehab assignment with Triple-A Albuquerque on Saturday, the team announced before their second game against the Padres at Petco Park on Friday.
Kemp will serve as the designated hitter on Saturday for the Isotopes, who begin a four-game series at home against Round Rock. Manager Don Mattingly said Kemp will hopefully play two or three games in the field with Albuquerque before getting activated, per Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times.
Friday marks the 21st consecutive game Kemp has missed while on the disabled list with a right hamstring strain. Kemp is hitting just .251/.305/.335 with two home runs in 51 games this season.
Kemp, who hadn't been able to run at full speed yet during his recovery, ran the bases on Friday, per Ken Gurnick of MLB.com, which as Gurnick noted was the final hurdle before Kemp could be cleared to begin his rehab assignment. Kemp, who is anxious to return to play, was understandably happy with the news.
Hanley Ramirez just broke news that Matt Kemp will begin rehab tom. in Trip-A. In clubhouse, he’s pounding his chest: "I’m the new guy now!"— Pedro Moura (@PedroMoura) June 22, 2013
In Kemp's absence, Andre Ethier has started 15 games in center field. Ethier isn't in the lineup Friday night against left-handed pitcher Clayton Richard - against whom Ethier is hitting .194 (6-for-31) in his career - because of swollen left knee from Ethier's collision with Yasiel Puig in Pittsburgh over the weekend, per Shaikin.
Skip Schumaker on Friday will make his sixth start in center field since Kemp went down.
TV: Prime Ticket
Time: 7:10 p.m.