ANAHEIM, Calif. – Matt Kemp had major offseason shoulder surgery. He was hit in the elbow by a pitch on Tuesday night that made it difficult for him to throw.
On Wednesday, it was his hamstring that caused him to take himself out of the Dodgers’ 4-3 loss to the Angels at Angel Stadium.
Kemp was diagnosed with a mild right hamstring strain and an MRI is scheduled for Thursday. Despite all of the questions surrounding his health, Kemp has avoided the disabled list this season. Wednesday night’s injury, however, could be the one that does the trick.
“I shouldn’t say it, but any time you hear the dreaded hamstring word, it usually lasts a little bit,” said Dodgers manager Don Mattingly.
Added Kemp: “It’s frustrating but injuries are part of the game and you just got to keep working, get better, and get back to it.
“It’s not as bad as last year. When you feel (your hamstring) grab and things like that you got to take it easy and make sure you’re careful with it because it could get worse.”
Kemp was chasing a ball hit in the right center gap by Mike Trout in the top of the seventh inning. It was on that play he felt something in his hamstring. He informed fellow outfielder Andre Ethier, who told him that he should probably say something.
During a pitching change later in the inning, Kemp spoke up. It shows an older, wiser, more mature side of Matt Kemp.
“Probably about two years ago I would’ve stayed in the game,” he said. “Dre (Ethier) walked over to me and told me ‘Be safe’ and kind of reminded me of that. I’d rather maybe miss a couple of days or whatever and not miss a month like I did last year.”
The 2013 season has been a rough one for Kemp. He’s batting just .251, with two home runs and 17 RBI. He was 0 for 3 with two strikeouts, batting fifth in the lineup for the second consecutive night before leaving the game on Wednesday. Mattingly hopes this injury doesn’t do more to mess with the psyche of his beleaguered star.
“I’m hoping it’s just a few days where it doesn’t derail him,” Mattingly said. “He’s working to get himself back and be a part of it. I really don’t want him to get any more frustrated than he is. I know he’s frustrated already so it would be nice if this wasn’t something major and we’re able to get him back quickly.”
On the active roster, Skip Schumaker is the player Mattingly feels the most comfortable playing in center field but only for “a couple of days here, a couple of days there.”
If Kemp’s injury is any longer than that, there will likely be a roster move for someone who can play the position every day.