The good news for the Dodgers is that center fielder Matt Kemp, out for almost two months with ankle and hamstring issues, was activated from the disabled list Monday afternoon.
The bad news: Kemp wasn’t in the starting lineup for the Dodgers’ game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field.
Given the state of their roster, the return of Kemp has to be viewed as a welcome relief for a team hobbled by injuries. Kemp was listed on the Dodgers’ roster card, but he was not in the starting lineup, meaning he’s probably good for a pinch-hitting role if needed.
Kemp has been in Arizona working out at the team’s minor league facility after going 0 for 18 in a rehab assignment at Class A Rancho Cucamonga. He has played in just one game at the major league level since July 5.
Still not ready to return: shortstop Hanley Ramirez (back/hamstring) and outfielders Carl Crawford (back) and Andre Ethier (left ankle). But Yasiel Puig, who pinch hit on Sunday despite a sore hip, was in the lineup, batting fourth and playing right field.
Puig’s return was unexpected, especially since manager Don Mattingly provided no specifics on his possible return, saying it could be anywhere from one day to multiple weeks.
After Puig grounded out with the bases loaded to close out Sunday’s 4-3 loss to the San Francisco Giants, he said, “With the treatment they’re giving me, it shouldn’t be very long before I’m back in the lineup.”
It turns out he was right. But the Dodgers, who need to beat the Diamondbacks twice in the next four days to clinch the National League West, still fielded a starting lineup short on power. They had Nick Punto at shortstop, rookie Nick Buss in left field and Skip Schumaker in center field behind starting pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu.