Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Don Mattingly on Matt Kemp’s status: ‘He’s still a little bit behind schedule’


The Los Angeles Dodgers have three quality starting outfielders to open the 2014 season as things stand right now. That is without five-tool outfielder Matt Kemp, as they can trot out Andre Ethier, Carl Crawford, and the mercurial Yasiel Puig.

As for Kemp and when he might be back, manager Don Mattingly addressed his status on Monday as he rehabs and works his way back from a serious injury to his left ankle (quotes courtesy of Ken Gurnick at MLB.com):

Matt will be able to do a lot of things, but he’s still a little bit behind schedule…There are certain things he won’t do until everybody says it’s OK — running outside — that’s when his ankle and the doctors let us know what he’s capable of.”

The severity of his injury forces the Dodgers to take it slow with Kemp. He still has not started running, so he is a ways from being back in action. When he does return, his ability to run will not be the tool that the team is monitoring. After his slugging dipped to .395 and his OPS dipped to .723 in 2013, they need to see the plus power that set him apart when he was MVP worthy in 2011.

Tags: Don Mattingly Los Angeles Dodgers Matt Kemp