Matt Kemp is hitless so far this Spring, but we should not be worried. The Bison has had just 8 at bats in three games while striking out thrice. He feels good, he’s able to play at full strength, and he made his first start in the outfield on Tuesday against San Diego at Peoria. While Carl Crawford has been sidelined indefinitely with some nerve irritation in his surgically repaired elbow, Matt Kemp’s rehabilitation process seems to be going much more smoothly after offseason left shoulder surgery.
Crawford’s setback makes me think that he will most likely not be ready for Opening Day on April 1st, but I think there shouldn’t be too much concern that Matt Kemp won’t be our starting center fielder in that inaugural game of 2013 versus the Giants. The Dodgers have wisely transitioned Kemp slowly this Spring, and they should continue to ease him back instead of letting him play in every Spring game. We know Matty, and he would probably play every inning if the decision was up to him. It wasn’t until last season’s hamstring injury that Matt Kemp began to miss playing time with the Dodgers. When he was placed on the disabled list on May 14, 2012 his consecutive game streak of 399 games was broken. The streak was the longest in the Majors at the time.
Kemp will eventually get a Spring hit. There’s no doubt about that, but the most important thing is that he is healthy and strong.
Kemp had this to say after his Cactus League debut last Friday:
“Good to get it out of the way. I was excited. I felt a little jumpy, just like any first Spring Training game. But I’m just happy to be back on the field.”
He may just be a little anxious. I’m sure he’s raring to get back into full Beast Mode as soon as possible. We should be very happy that his rehab is right on track, and he should be ready for Opening Day.
It may be too lofty of a goal for Kemp to attain that 50/50 benchmark (50 homeruns and 50 stolen bases), but as long as he stays away from those pesky and dangerous outfield walls then we should be enjoying a multitude of Bison Blasts in 2013.