For those expecting Dodger center fielder Matt Kemp to have a monster night in his first game since July 21st, your expectations were probably a bit too lofty, especially when you consider that he only began running about a week ago.
In fact, Kemp’s night was anything but a monster night with the Dodgers Advanced Single-A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes going 0 for 5 with a strike out and three ground outs, two of which were double plays. The only time that Kemp hit the ball out of the infield was a line drive to center field to end the game. But regardless of his 0-fer, Kemp was pleased with his overall performance.
“I haven’t played in five weeks, you know, it is what it is,” said Kemp after Thursday night’s 14-3 shellacking at the hands of the High Desert Mavericks. “I got more comfortable as the game went on. I knew I wasn’t going to come out feeling super good. But I hit some balls hard and that’s all you can ask for.”
As for his ankle, Kemp said that it didn’t bother him at all, even while running to first base on his three ground outs.
“It feels good. Tomorrow will be a big test for me playing in center field. We’ll see how it goes,” said Kemp.
With the Dodgers having the day off, the crowd at LoanMart Field was rather large for a Thursday night at 3,642, due in no small part to Kemp’s rehab appearance with the Quakes.
“It felt good to be out there and hear the fans,” said Kemp of the large crowd that included his mother Judy and his agent and former Dodger Dave Stewart. “There were a lot of Dodgers fans out here. It’s good to get back out there and be playing baseball again.”
Kemp said that he is scheduled to play seven innings in Friday nights game and possibly nine innings in Saturday night’s game. When asked if he might return to the Dodgers for Sunday’s game at Dodger Stadium, Kemp said that he didn’t know.