Matt Kemp Set to Return to Action with LA Dodgers After Ankle Injury

Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistSeptember 16, 2013

After playing in just one game since early July due to an ankle injury, Matt Kemp will finally return to the Los Angeles Dodgers

The MLBRosterMoves on Twitter has the news:

While he may be back on the roster, Kemp is approaching the next few days with caution (via Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times):

“I just honestly want to help this team any way I can,” Kemp said. “But I want to play. I don’t want to just pinch-hit here, pinch-hit there. I want to go out and play. I’m trying to get to the point where I can play and help us on both sides, offense and defense.”

It's been a tough year for Kemp, with three separate stints on the disabled list; a hamstring injury in May led to his first, while a troublesome shoulder led his second stint in early July. The soon-to-be 29-year-old outfielder started the season slowly after undergoing shoulder surgery in the offseason and has hit just .263 with five home runs and 27 RBI in 62 games.

Kemp, who signed a $160 million extension after the 2011 season, also missed 56 games last season. Despite losing a chunk of his season, he still managed to hit .303 with 23 home runs, 69 RBI and 74 runs scored in 2012. 

Of course, the Dodgers haven't missed a beat in his absence. The team is a stunning 10.5 games ahead of the Arizona Diamondbacks in the NL West, led by cultural phenomenon Yasiel Puig, rejuvenated players like Hanley Ramirez, Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford, and the one-two punch of Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke atop the rotation. 

Kemp's addition back into the lineup, of course, will still be welcomed with open arms. In 2011, Kemp finished second in MVP voting (to the since-suspended Ryan Braun for performance-enhancing drugs), hitting .324 with 39 home runs, 126 RBI, 115 runs scored and 40 stolen bases. When healthy, he is one of the most dynamic talents in baseball. 

In a loaded outfield already featuring Andre Ethier, Crawford and Puig, Ethier will probably be the odd man out in the everyday lineup with the Kemp's return. Regardless, this is what you call a "good problem" for manager Don Mattingly in trying to find all his veterans and stars playing time. 


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