Concern and optimism as Matt Kemp's sore ankle flares up

Matt Kemp's ankle was sore, which is kind of understandable since he's played every game since coming off the disabled list Sept. 16 and started all but one.

So apparently, Kemp woke up Saturday and the left ankle was sore. Scheduled to start that night, he went through the typical pregame drills but the ankle would not loosen up. He was a last-minute scratch.


And here we go again?

The Dodgers insisted otherwise, saying they were just trying to be smart. But given that Kemp has been on the disabled list three times and has been battling hamstring and ankle issues, it's at least enough to give the Dodgers pause that he might not be ready for the playoff opener on Thursday.

"Well, a little bit just because of what we've been through, but I don't know how much good it's going to do me to get all nervous and worry about it," said Manager Don Mattingly. "It's not going to help it any. I feel like we're being cautious and he's going to be ready to go."

The Dodgers are already uncertain whether Andre Ethier (shin splints above left ankle) will be ready to start the playoffs and can't afford to lose another outfielder.

After the game Kemp blew past the media without any comment, saying only he was uncertain if he would be able to play in Sunday's regular-season finale.

"We'll see," he said. "We'll see how it feels."

Earlier he did tell Prime Ticket when he woke up Saturday the ankle had simply flared up from so much recent use, and it was nothing major.

"He was having trouble getting loose," Mattingly said. "At that point we really didn't want to push that. I feel like we're being a little cautious.

"He has been playing a lot. We've been trying to give him as many at-bats as possible without going too far. And obviously today he was having trouble getting loose and we didn't want to take any chances with it."

Mattingly said he did not expect to play Kemp on Sunday.

"I think so," he said. "If he's not ready by now, I don't think he's going to be."

Kemp is 11 for 35 (.314) since coming off the DL, with one home run, six RBIs, seven strikeouts and four walks.