He said he definitely won’t start his rehab tomorrow and that when he does, it likely will be at Rancho. But he’s getting closer, and so I’m deducing from what he did say that he might start his rehab on Thursday. Matt said he didn’t know what the schedule was beyond today, but Don Mattingly just told the media that Kemp will run bases again tomorrow. He wouldn’t commit to Thursday as a start date for Kemp’s rehab because, again, team officials are steadfast about taking this a day at a time, but he did acknowledge that it could happen.
Kemp is definitely in a great mood. A few minutes ago, he was in the dugout chatting up Nash Punto, Nick Punto’s young son, who has kind of become the star of the clubhouse this year because he’s always around in his Dodgers jersey and his trademark blonde hair, his bright-blue eyeglasses and his gregarious personality.
Kemp was playful even when approached by a pack of reporters at his locker a few minutes ago. He pointed at Juan Uribe, who has the adjacent locker, and said, “Y’all gotta be quick today because my brother here doesn’t like a bunch of reporters around his locker.” To which Uribe responded by smiling and saying, “No, it’s OK, I don’t mind.”
To the important stuff. This is what Kemp said:
“I thought it went good today. It was the first day I ran the bases, and I was a little skeptical, but it turned out to be really, really good. It was pretty fun to be out there running bases. It had been a while.”
Kemp said he’ll know when he’s had enough rehab to be ready, but I get the sense the medical staff is going to be extremely cautious and conservative, especially with the team playing well.
When he does come back, playing time might be a thorny issue with four everyday-caliber OFs.
Kemp said this: “I’m a center fielder. That’s my role, to play center field every day. I don’t like to sit out games. I like to play and give my team a chance to win. I feel like I can do that. … If I feel good, I’m going to play.”
Mattingly acknowledged one part of that statement: when Kemp plays, he will play CF. As for the rest of it, well …
“I’m not going to start making out my lineup now,” Mattingly said. “The important thing at this point in the season is us winning. Somebody’s going to be mad. I understand that. I don’t mind them being mad. That means they want to play.”