Matt Kemp’s rehab – Upon further review…

In yesterday’s blog article I wrote that perhaps it would be best if Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp were to sit out the rest of the season because the team was doing just fine without him – exceptionally fine, in fact. I based my opinion solely on what I had seen of Kemp during his four rehab appearances with the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes. In a nutshell, Matt Kemp looked horrible. He had gone a dismal 0 for 14 with seven strikeouts and was chasing pitches that were low and away. It was painfully reminiscent of the 2010 Matt Kemp – the Rihanna Matt Kemp. He looked so bad that I actually felt sorry for him.

Kemp chases a slider low and away for the first of his seven strikeouts. (Photo credit - Ron Cervenka)

Kemp chases a slider low and away for the first of his seven strikeouts.
(Photo credit – Ron Cervenka)

But then something happened during Monday afternoon’s Quakes/JetHawks game – something that changed my opinion; enough so that I felt obligated to write about it.

It wasn’t that Kemp got a hit. In fact, he went 0 for 4 to extend his hitless streak to 18 – but it was how he went 0 for 4 that changed my opinion.

In hit first at bat of the game, Kemp actually pulled a slider sharply to the shortstop for a ground out. “Huh… he pulled a slider,” I thought to myself.

In his second at bat, Kemp hit a towering pop-up to short right field, and I mean it was way up there which, of course, gave the right fielder all day to get under it and make the catch. “Huh… he hit the ball to right field,” I thought to myself.

In his third at bat, Kemp pulled a fastball sharply to the third baseman for a ground out. “Huh… he really turned on that pitch,” I thought to myself.

In his fourth and final at bat of the day, Kemp hit yet another towering pop-up, this one in the right field gap and even higher than the first one, and were it not for an outstanding running catch by JetHawks right fielder Chris Epps, Kemp’s 0-fer streak would have ended. “Okay, he hit that ball in the exact direction where most of his home runs go and he just missed it,” I thought to myself.

There is no doubt where Kemp hit that monster pop-up. He just got under the ball or it would still be climbing. (Photo credit - Ron Cervenka)

There is no doubt where Kemp hit this monster pop-up. He just got under the ball or it would still be climbing.
(Photo credit – Ron Cervenka)

Now granted, Kemp is now 0 for 18 in his rehab assignment, but he hit the ball well in each of his four at bats on Monday afternoon and he hit it to all fields – short, third, right and right/center. As such, and upon further review, I now believe that the Matt Kemp of 2011 may not be too far away – and wouldn’t that be something heading into the post-season.

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Author’s note:

It was reported after Monday’s Dodger game that Kemp would be remaining at Rancho Cucamonga to continue his rehab assignment. With the Quakes having clinched a playoff Wild Card spot, they are scheduled to play the Inland Empire 66ers on Wednesday evening at LoanMart Field and Kemp is eligible and will most likely play in that game. The winner of that game will face the JetHawks in Lancaster on Saturday. Should it be the Quakes, I do not believe that Kemp will join them but will instead be reactivated from the DL and will join the Dodgers in Cincinnati. Please keep in mind that this is all speculation on my part.

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7 Responses to “Matt Kemp’s rehab – Upon further review…”

  1. bigbluebird says:

    Now that the Dodgers are up to 12.5 in the standings I think it is time to get him in there against Cincy. Yesterday’s game against Colorado was a win that a great team makes at this time of year — gritty, ugly, grind-it-out win with players not at their best. Many players looked tired (Kershaw and Jansen) and as well Puig appears to have a minor injury. Great time to get Kemp in there to spell players and get some much needed at bats. While it is very important to get home field advantage, it is more important to see what you have going into the playoff and give regular players a bit more time off. It looks like Volquez is going get a start and I would imagine Young is going to get some playing time too along with some of the younger players on the expanded roster. Perfect time to get Kemp in the game.

  2. OldBrooklynFan says:

    Thanks for the update on Kemp, Ron. It’s good to learn that he’s starting to make better contact. It looks to me he will be close to his old self when he comes back to the team.
    I’m looking forward to see how Donnie works it with 4 top hitting outfielders. I think everything will come out just fine, but we’ll just have to wait and see.

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