The Return of Matt Kemp?

kemp_newyork_2013-04-23All indications are that Matt Kemp is going to be activated from the disabled list today, and if he is, he’ll most likely be in the starting lineup tonight.

I have no idea what Kemp can contribute, because the reports from his latest rehab have just been so all over the place, from the 0-for-18 with a walk performance with Rancho Cucamonga to the four homers in a simulated game to the time just ten days ago when we thought he was done for the season. It’s not realistic to say that any of us can really have expectations for him, not with how much of a disaster 2013 has been for Kemp, and not when he’s had exactly five MLB plate appearances in more than two months, all coming in that lone July 21 game in Washington when he seemingly destroyed his ankle.

That game was so long ago that the Dodger victory over the Nationals that day put them into a tie for first place with Arizona, and the Dodgers now have a 10.5 game lead over the Diamondbacks as they kick off a four game set tonight. (Technically the magic number is four, but it’s really two for the next few days, since they’re facing one another head-to-head and there’s no way to have a Dodger win without a corresponding Diamondbacks loss.)

Now Kemp is likely ready to give it another shot, and the team he returns to is a very different one than the one he left. It’s a team that’s certain to make the playoffs, but one that’s also dropped eight of its last eleven games, as Carl Crawford and Yasiel Puig and Hanley Ramirez and Andre Ethier have all missed time due to injury, as Clayton Kershaw has been good but not his usual elite, as Paco Rodriguez looks tired, as Ricky Nolasco finally had the implosion start we probably all figured was coming, as A.J. Ellis continues to struggle, and as a team supposedly in the hunt for the best record in the National League actually started an outfield of Jerry Hairston, Skip Schumaker, and Chili Buss on September 15. (!)

Kemp’s (assumed) return isn’t going to change all that, though as I’ve said I’m not going to worry all that much about what guys who have no role in October like Buss or Onelki Garcia or Stephen Fife do right now. If he’s the Kemp we saw for most of the first two months before his injury, it might even drag things down further. But he just might be the healthiest regular outfielder right now, and as the Dodgers still have a pretty solid amount of buffer time before the playoffs, it’s more than worth seeing what he can do.

This team needs some health and some energy right now. I’m not sure if Kemp can provide both or even just one. I do think it’d be foolish to forget that it wasn’t all that long ago that he was in the conversation for the best player in baseball, and so there’s nothing but upside here. Bring it on, Matt. (I hope.)

787 comments
KMT59
KMT59

Lyons promoting Myung over Uribe against a flame thrower in the playoffs

TheConman
TheConman

"The one we've talked about before: You've gotta score more runs. And that sounds crazy, but they have not been scoring" - Steve Lyons on the pregame

*VND*
*VND*

Panda is tired. Panda nap now. Go team wake me up when Kemp isn't dead

P_F_P
P_F_P

How many times will Kemp's name be featured in Mike's write-up for the game threat?

Noel D
Noel D

Are we there yet?

KMT59
KMT59

Midnight Hour!!!!

DeucesWild
DeucesWild

I am such an old man in my 20's... I was so happy to see a somewhat earlier start because I hopefully won't take an accidental nap before the end of the game

P_F_P
P_F_P

Matt Kemp is still not activated. Relax.

o0b00tz0o
o0b00tz0o

I'm watching Matt Kemp on the television right now. Its been too long.

DeucesWild
DeucesWild

I love watching this Kemp interview, it seems like it's been so long since I've seen him

KMT59
KMT59

shut out still in tack 

Noel D
Noel D

If Kemp's decision to play or not is such a close call... perhaps they should wait until it is clearer

KMT59
KMT59

slowly all the bloggers are posting new threats...even though the team hasn't given any word on Kemp

efb
efb

Tony: "according to Don Mattingly, who says he has every reason to believe Ethier WILL return before the start of the regular season." WTF? 

MSTI>Dodgers Digest
MSTI>Dodgers Digest

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