One of baseball’s fastest starters in 2017 will be held out of action for a while.
The Atlanta Braves placed veteran outfielder Matt Kemp on the 10-day disabled list with a strained right hamstring on Tuesday afternoon. The roster move is retroactive to April 8. Young infielder Johan Camargo was recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett in a corresponding move.
Kemp strained his hamstring on a diving catch in the opening game at Pittsburgh in snowy conditions, short-circuiting what proved to be a lightning-fast start from the power hitting left fielder. In a brief four-game sample, Kemp torched opposing pitching to the tune of two home runs and four doubles in 17 plate appearances.
The Kemp news arrives at an inopportune time for manager Brian Snitker’s club as it attempts to bounce back from a 1-5 start as the pitching matchups ease up on the offense.
With Kemp sidelined, utility player Jace Peterson, who hit well in Kemp’s absence in Pittsburgh, will likely receive the bulk of the playing time in left field. Emilio Bonifacio is another outfield piece for Snitker to consider.
Camargo’s promotion arrives after a spring training in which his improved approach at the plate was juxtaposed with defensive miscues. The 23-year-old’s offensive production improved dramatically at Double-A last season, hitting roughly league average (.267/.304/.379 with four home runs) to complement a plus glove. Camargo showed up to spring camp and posted an .868 OPS and then opened his 2017 campaign at Triple-A Gwinnett on a hot streak.
Assuming he cleans up the defensive gaffes — he led the team in errors in Grapefruit League action — he could be a useful bench piece for Snitker.
Kemp is expected to be available in time for Atlanta’s home series against the Washington Nationals next week.