Matt Kemp has a setback, Sue Falsone leaves Dodgers

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So we learned today that Matt Kemp is going to have surgery on his left ankle, which means that the prognosis for him being fully recovered from this injury has moved from the start of spring training to “he is expected to be competitive in time for the regular season,” as it was worded in the email the Dodgers sent out to media. That may not sound like a significant setback, but it’s a difference of a few weeks. I’m told all it really means is that he may be on some form of restrictive activity during the early stages of spring training, so it doesn’t sound like any kind of major setback. But in theory, it could affect what the Dodgers do over the winter. We all pretty much expected them to try to trade one of their four outfielders so as to, you know, relieve that alleged logjam that existed for all of TWO games this year. Now, the Dodgers might opt to hold onto all four because even if Kemp is expected to be “competitive” by opening day, there is no guarantee that he will be.

By the way, here is the video I posted shortly after the final game of the regular season, when Dr. Neal ElAttrache seemed to indicate it was unlikely Kemp would need surgery on the ankle. It also is worth mentioning that Kemp now has done five stints on the DL in the past two seasons with four different injuries, and that doesn’t even count this late-season setback with his ankle, when he was never officially placed on the DL.

On another note, remember two years ago, when the Dodgers made Sue Falsone the first female head trainer for a team in a major American professional sport? Well, I received confirmation she officially stepped down today, that the decision was completely hers and that it had nothing to do with the crazy number of injuries the Dodgers suffered this year. It also is confirmed that Stephen Downey, who was in his second season as strength and conditioning coach, won’t be retained as part of the major league staff. Downey could return somewhere within the organization. He spent five seasons as strength coach for Dodgers minor league affiliates, including at high Single-A in 2007-08 and at Triple-A Albuquerque from 2009-11.

One other thing, regarding the strange comments of Don Mattingly from earlier today: it seems the national media has a much different take on this from the Los Angeles media, which is mostly bewildered by the whole thing (your humble correspondent included). Nationally, Mattingly is being hailed for having the fortitude to stand up for himself. Here is a great column by Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.

8 comments

  1. Kemp was “competitive” at the start of this season, that is to say they stuck him out there. Not again:(

  2. Funny – Kemp is tweeting away tonight like all is well. Seriously – the guy has a screw loose. He has contributed nothing for the past 2 seasons (except April 2012) and just acts lime everything is just dandy. No seriousness to him at all. Then again he’s already gotten paid so why worry?

    • Wow, I don’t agree at all. Players now have more ability to communicate with the public – a trend that most fans welcome – and you’re criticizing him for doing so? Seriously? You prefer that he hole up in a cave?

      As for his contributions the past two seasons, during that time he’s played in 179 games with a slash line of .290 .352 .482 .834, and hit 29 home runs, including 17 since April 2012 – quite the opposite of “nothing”.

      You seem to look for ways to criticize players, even when they don’t deserve it, as your comments are consistently negative. This has been a good season with many stellar performances. Take a closer look and you’ll find that most of the players have performed quite well.

      • The only player I consistently comment on is Kemp. He is a bigger problem than people realize. The Dodgers didn’t pay $185 million for a guy to be on the field as little as he has. Stats are just numbers, not an exhaustive evaluative tool. I see (as do scouts BTW) a 28-29 year old player that still struggles with basic things like pitch recognition and consistent focus. Watching balls roll between his legs to the wall and continually swing 12 inches over the top of breaking balls headed for the dirt is really frustrating – and terribly costly for the team. After he should have won the MVP in 2011 (he was robbed by a juicer) he foolishly declared he was bulking up to go 50/50. All that has led to is multiple hamstring injuries from too much bulk and not enough flexibility. Not to mention – if he’s such a great guy and team player, why does he worry about stupid things like “beast mode” etc? Team goals are what matter and most importantly are what players should talk about, not individual goals.

        I remind you that his latest injury (the ankle) occurred when he was doing what he consistently does – loafing. He had to speed back up which caused an unusual stride and a late slide that rolled that ankle. I know injuries are part of the game, this latest one is very illuminating to the fact that he is not really instinctive & mature as a baseball player. That’s not being “negative” that’s just telling it the way it is. I follow him on Twitter and can say without question that he never, EVER responds to anyone who doesn’t kiss his butt and shower him with praise. Reading Tony’s column regularly leads me to believe the same about how he treats writers or ANYONE who has the audacity to ask him tough questions or question his actions. That leads me to believe he may have some insecurity issues (my opinion only). If true – that doesn’t bode well in a game where failure out weighs success in its own metric – failing 7 out of ten times = success.

        By all accounts this was a fun season. Until people in the Dodgers organization and fans stop making excuses for players like Kemp and demand a focus on team goals not individual ones and accountability in the form of sustained concentration & focus, there will be no sustained success for the Dodgers on the field.

      • Sorry nx – should have included that I don’t expect him to “hole up in a cave”. As a fan I would hope he would communicate with all fans, not just the ones that say “you’re the greatest” or “beast mode never sleeps” etc.

      • If I were Kemp, I sure wouldn’t reply to tweets from any fan who slams him at every opportunity and makes up false arguments while ignoring his genuine, positive contributions. Good for him for ignoring such BS.

      • You seem to be offended. It is interesting that I speak of things written by regular beat writers covering the Dodgers including the author of this blog yet you state “I make up false arguments”. I did note however than by refuting my viewpoints you offer no evidence to the contrary. This speaks well to the weakness of your position. Or do you have an explanation as to why Kemp has never progressed in his plate approach and discipline (2011 not withstanding) ? Being injured and at less than 100% health does not allow that skill set and ability to degrade. Do you have an explanation why he still has so many lapses in concentration defensively and on the base paths? He manned up immediately and took full responsibility for his ankle injury in DC. My over arching point is why are these things still occurring in a ball player in his age 28/29 seasons with his level of experience?

        You are entitled to your opinion no matter how ignorant or naive it may be. I am not the type of person that offends easily in discussions. What I will not stand idly by for is someone who acts like an apologist for a player, then trying to transfer the heat to someone else who has a differing viewpoint than yours nx. If you don’t like or concur with the message that’s fine, don’t kill the messenger though. As a lifelong Dodger fan I am not a hater. What I am is a self described keen observer with a little more exposure into the baseball world than the average fan. I have never been in this team’s clubhouse so I am dependent on the reporting of others when forming my own opinions. If you have something that offers credibility to your position I’d be very glad to here it.

        Let’s try this another way with a player who has a similar contract in length and $ to Kemp’s. When is the last time Derek Jeter said anything but that winning championships and team success is what matters most? Or when he was so totally distracted by who he dates that it affects his performance? Or made a silly commercial bringing more attention to himself and individual statistical pursuits rather than team goals? Kemp has done all 3 of those.

        Being a professional sports star in this market demands a lot. Perception is EVERYTHING. Responding to only people who offer praise and smooching is very immature behavior for anyone, for someone as highly exposed in Kemp, it’s a serious flaw that needs to be addressed. Even if it isn’t dealt that doesn’t mean I am not rooting for our Dodgers to win. It just means I have a different view. Peace out.

  3. (1) Sigh… Matty… (2) I’m really sad about Sue leaving. (3) Interesting about the nationall perception of Donnie. (4) I hate all this drama.