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Matt Kemp injury: Dodgers CF gets 5 AB in first rehab game

Kemp was the designated hitter on Thursday in his first game back, but will play center field on Friday night in his second game with the Quakes.

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Spor

Matt Kemp began his minor league rehab assignment on Thursday night with Class-A Rancho Cucamonga. Kemp was the designated hitter for the Quakes and went 0-for-5 with a strikeout in his first game since July 21 with the Dodgers, when he sprained his left ankle.

Austin Laymance of was in Rancho Cucamonga on Thursday:

Kemp faced three pitchers and saw 21 pitches. He grounded out three times, including two double plays, struck out and lined out to center field in his final at-bat.

"I got more comfortable as the game went on," Kemp said. "I knew I wasn't going to come out feeling super good. But I hit some balls hard and that's all you can ask for."

Kemp will play center field for Rancho Cucamonga on Friday night, when they open a four-game series against Lancaster at home to conclude their regular season.

The rehab assignment for Kemp is expected to last through at least Saturday. He could be activated as early as Sunday when roster limits expand from 25 to 40, though manager Don Mattingly made it sound earlier in the week like the Dodgers weren't in a rush to bring back Kemp, who has missed more games (71) than he has played (62) this season with three stints on the disabled list.

"We still have to make sure he gets right before he gets out there," Mattingly said on Wednesday.