Jul 2, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp (27) during the ninth inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. The Dodgers won 8-0. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Kemp Injury Update: Swollen Ankle, Could It Have Been Avoided?

Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but Matt Kemp is hurt again. This time a mental block on the base paths may have cost him dearly. The Dodger’s all-star center fielder returned from the disabled list this morning and proceeded to go 3 for 4 with a home run, run scoring double, and an RBI single in the Dodger’s 9-2 win over the Nationals at Washington D.C. But he injured his ankle on an awkward slide into home plate in the top of the ninth inning. He was unable to return to the field in the bottom of the ninth, and was replaced in the game by Skip Schumaker.

Kemp returned from the disabled list today after missing nine games because of an irritated AC joint in his shoulder. It almost seems like Kemp is like 40 years old now. If you remember, Kemp was never hurt. Ever. Kemp was like an iron man, he never missed a game. Before he blew out his hamstring in May of 2012, he had played in 399 consecutive games.

Did a mental error on the base paths cause Bison’s ankle injury?-Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

But the injury bug has really bitten our lovable Bison. He missed 56 games in 2012 because of a strained hamstring, then of course on August 28, 2012 Bison’s death-defying crash into the Coors Field wall left him with a torn shoulder labrum, that is still affecting his swing to this day. After having off-season surgery on his shoulder, Bison recovered enough to be ready to play by opening day, but we all feared he wouldn’t be the same for a while.

Kemp strained his other hamstring earlier this season, because of course he did. That landed Bison back on the DL for a few weeks. Kemp returned but continued to struggle until hitting two home runs in a series at Colorado earlier this month, and everyone was hoping that that was the beginning of the return of the Bison. Would Beastmode make a comeback?

Once players begin to get hurt, sometimes it can open a floodgate of future injuries. The long layoffs between playing, the cortisone shots, and PRP injections, they all take their toll on the player’s bodies. Kemp is going down a road that none of us want him to be going down.

However in the next series in San Francisco, Kemp hurt his shoulder on a swing that looked very painful. The Dodgers treated him with another cortisone shot, and placed him back on the DL to rest his shoulder. The Dodgers announced that this was normal after having shoulder surgery (according to the medical team) and that Kemp would just need to rest.

So after Bison hit some home runs off of Ted Lilly in a simulated game, the Dodgers proclaimed him back and ready to go. Even though hitting anything off Ted Lilly makes you far from being ready. Despite that, Kemp was activated today and placed in the starting lineup, batting sixth.

Kemp looked great during all of his at-bats today. In the first he showed great plate discipline laying off of a 1-2 inside fastball, before turning on a hanging breaking ball, crushing the ball into the left field seats. He added an RBI double, and a run scoring single, plus a walk.

The questionable play that Kemp hurt himself on was in the top of the ninth inning. Kemp had walked, and eventually advanced to third. On a Carl Crawford bases loaded grounder to first, First baseman Chad Tracy threw to home as Kemp was trying to score. Kemp was jogging originally, the ball was a slow hit grounder and Tracy had no chance to get Crawford at first, so he fired to home to try and cut down Bison at the plate for a force. Kemp was jogging but then tried to pick up the speed when he realized he may get thrown out. Kemp couldn’t decide whether to slide or come in standing up. He tried to slide awkwardly, and rolled his ankle while trying to slide. He was tagged out, and was seen visibly limping in the dugout.

The Dodgers gave him x-rays, which came back negative. The diagnosis was a sprained ankle. The Dodgers also reported his ankle to be swollen, and that he would not be placed on the DL. It looked a lot worse then it was.

But could Kemp have avoided the injury? We’ve seen Kemp struggle at times to keep his head in games. Sometimes Bison can be a little lackadaisical on the field, and on the base paths. Was this one of those times? Was Kemp hot dogging it? Take a look below and I’ll let you decide.

This injury definitely could have been avoided had Kemp been running properly on the play. As we have seen so many times, Matt Kemp is an extremely talented player. He has the skills to dominate a game like we saw him to today. He can hit balls into the next quadrant, and can make spectacular plays in center field. However it seems that he still has trouble staying focused when on the field. What do you think? Could Kemp’s ankle injury have been avoided? Or was it just another freak injury, in a long season full of them?

It definitely could be considered a mental error, and Kemp was well aware of it, or so he told Andrew Simon of MLB.com

“It’s my fault. I wasn’t running hard,” Kemp said. “That’s an easy hit for CC (Crawford). I took a hit away from CC. CC has every right to be mad at me, because that was my fault. The results of me not running hard to home plate, I kind of tweaked my ankle a little bit. I’m more disappointed I wasn’t running hard like I should have been.”

After Kemp’s three hit game, he is now batting .263 with 5 home runs, and 27 runs driven in. The Dodgers have the advantage of playing a series up in Toronto starting tomorrow night and will be able to utilize the DH. Perhaps the Dodgers will DH Kemp during the Toronto series? The Dodgers are reporting Kemp’s status as day to day. But as Vin Scully once said, aren’t we all?

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Tags: Los Angeles Dodgers Matt Kemp

  • Quasimodo

    Scott, the answer is ‘yes’. ‘Yes’, it could of been avoided and ‘yes’, it was a freak accident. I watched it over and over @ M.S.T.I. and his ankle took a most unnatural bend. I’ll be happily shocked if Kemp is in any of these next 3 games in Canada. Checked here a couple times after the game and now find all is well. I’m not saying I was worried bout ya…..Okay maybe just a little. Great game, cheers!

    • LasordasLair

      He was hot dogging it a litte Quasi, then when he realized he was going to get thrown out, he couldnt decide wether to slide or come in standing up. lesson learned for him, run out everything, and keep your head in everything. I think he’ll play tomorrow, but my money is on him at DH tomorrow. We’ll see though. It doesnt appear to be anything serious though. he had a great game though.

      • Benjie Banzai

        With treatment he’ll be fine. He definitely had his head up his ass and he costs his teammate a hit and paid for it himself with an ankle sprain that his team may pay for with him not being 100% (again) for a while. Glad to see him acknowledge his own stupidity though. I sure hope Yasiel is watching and learning from all of this.

        GO BLUE!!!

        • LasordasLair

          That’s what Iove best about Bison, his willingness to take responsibility for his own screw ups. He knew he messed up.

  • Rhonda Wood

    Scott, this T Wood, my wife and daughter were at the National Zoo yesterday, while my son and I were at the game. First off I wish the Dodgers played more day games, the players clearly can see the ball, better in the daylight, they ripped the cover off it yesterday! One of the best days Dodger hitters have had all year, against one of the best pitchers in NL League. Getting to see Clayton live for the first time was fantastic, but the monster homer Kemp hit, was worth the price of the ticket, gas, and parking, I spent yesterday! That tator must have gone 450 ft.. and had the crowd stuned , it said Matt was back, and ready to help this team win the west, what great day for the Dodgers, and then the 9th inning happened. It was a total fluke play, ball hit to1st in the hole, and the pitcher does not cover 1st, I know in his mind Matt thought it way an easy out, in a blow out game, and cost CC a hit. Hope he is ok we need him healthy, to help us win the west, what a great day, had blast with my son in the ,Nations Capitol, what great ballpark Washington has!

    • LasordasLair

      the Bison blast measured at 413 feet, or so I’m told. They do seem to hit better during the day sometimes. Great game, except for the Bison injury. He needs to keep his head in the game. Making stupid mistakes on the base paths like that can be costly. Glad you guys had a great time. I’ve heard that the Ball park in Washington is very nice. Good to hear you guys got to see Kershaw and saw a win.

    • Stacie Wheeler

      Thanks for that first hand look at the game! Watching Kershaw pitch live is always a treat for me. How do you like Nationals Park?

      • Rhonda Wood

        Stacie, great to hear from you! It’s fantastic, not a mile south of the Capital building, and the National Mall. I liked it even more than Camden Yards in Baltimore, but then again the Dodgers played their best game of the year yesterday, April in Baltimore, not so good! If you wanted to take a family vacation Stacie, and make a Dodger game part of it, I would highly recommend Nationals Park in our Nations capital, and tour of Washington, DC., the kids if you have any, would love the National ZOO! Have you heard anything about Matt’s injury, and his status for Toronto series?

        • LasordasLair

          He’s not in the lineup tonight. So maybe the ankle is still swollen? Haven’t heard any new updates today, but the club has said he’s day to day

          • Rhonda Wood

            Long as it’s not high ankle injury, hopefully he can get back in lineup very soon, at least he had no problem with the shoulder yesterday!

          • LasordasLair

            Serious huh? His shoulder looked fine on those swings, especially his home run swing in the first inning. I worry that his body is declining from all of the frequent cortisone shots and treatments

  • AaronKnuckleCurve

    Bison. Man child. I love the dude, but he’s made bad base running mistakes since he became a pro. and this one cost him. i think he has focus problems. or something. just not too smart on the basepaths.

    • LasordasLair

      Thats right Aaron. He made a very dumb mistake. He did admit it though.

  • Rhonda Wood

    Scott, that game shows that Bison still has MVP skills in him, he just has to get healthy, and stay healthy, we need him in the lineup! That homer was so massive, it was as high as it was long, over the outfield bleachers, into a picknic area! Zimmerman, was clearly was shaken by it, TV could not have done it justice! Man and maybe CC has finally found his game. The team looks so much better, than when I went to see them in Baltimore, in April, WHAT A TURNAROUND!

    • LasordasLair

      Isn’t it incredible Rhonda??? I agree about Bison. He just needs to get healthy and then once he does, watch out National League.