The Los Angeles Dodgers got off to a tremendous start in 2012, and that was thanks to the exploits of Matt Kemp. The outfielder was leading the National League in home runs and RBIs. He was far and away the runaway pick early on for National League Player of the Year. Everything was turning to gold for the young superstar, but then he injured his hamstring. The injury took him out of the lineup, and with it the Dodgers chances of winning the NL West.
Kemp was out from May to July of 2012, causing LA to free fall from a seemingly insurmountable lead in their division. He came back in July and promptly ran into a wall and injured himself again. Though he displayed toughness in finishing out the season, he was not the same. His stolen bases dropped to single digits, and he did not reach 70 runs batted in. Los Angeles hoped that the off-season would give Kemp the chance to rest and come back at 100 percent this season.
Unfortunately, the winter was not kind to Kemp. The shoulder injury did not properly heal, causing him to get off to a terrible start. It got so bad at one point that the fans booed him off the field in one game. Not sure what that says for Dodgers fans, considering he has been one of their best players in the recent past. If that were not enough, on May 29, Kemp injured his right hamstring, thus returning to the disabled list.
Kemp had hoped that this stint would not be like the one in 2012. During that one, he got off of the disabled list, only to re-injure the hamstring a few games later. That led to the two month absence. Perhaps that was in the back of his mind when he started rehabbing at the Dodgers Arizona spring training home (Camelback Ranch). He did fine there, but then returned to Los Angeles, where he felt something while running at the stadium.
Don Mattingly, the Dodgers manager, said, " At this point I think we've hit a little bit of a snag because he felt a little something today still. The reason he came back was to let Doc check him out, get him on the field and try to extend him as far as he could and see where he's at. He's not quite there. Does that mean it's two days, three days or seven days? I don't know that answer, but we do know that he's not 100 percent. When we get that then we'll think about him going out and playing."
For Kemp, this setback has to be agonizing. Here was a durable player who had a 399 consecutive game string broken in 2012. Now, two years in a row, he is bedeviled by a hamstring injury. At least this time around, the Dodgers are a bit more prepared. Yasiel Puig has stepped in over the past week or so and torn the cover off of the ball. If Kemp can make it back, with Puig in the lineup, this team could be dangerous come September.