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Matt Kemp not expected ready for Australia, agent says

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The Dodgers center fielder has missed 145 of the last 290 games, and with the team treating his return cautiously Kemp likely won't be ready to play when the Dodgers open the season down under.

Stephen Dunn

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.

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.