He offered only a measly tease, but it was something. Matt Kemp is coming back, but exactly how soon?
Currently on the 15-day disabled list while he continues to come back from off-season foot and shoulder surgeries, the earliest the star outfielder can be activated is April 4.
And Tuesday at the Dodgers’ workout at Dodger Stadium, Manager Don Mattingly said Kemp could be activated on that Friday when the Giants come to town for the Dodgers’ home opener.
“It’s a possibility,” Mattingly said.
Mattingly said Kemp could also be sent out on a rehab assignment, the Dodgers trying very hard to be careful in the prognosis department.
Kemp did not join the team Tuesday when it practiced at Dodger Stadium for the first time since returning from its trip in Australia. He remains at the Dodgers’ training facility in Phoenix, playing in camp games. He may not join the Dodgers until Thursday when they open the Freeway Series against the Angels, though he is not eligible to play while on the DL.
If Kemp is activated April 4, he would sit out only the first five games of the season.
“We’ve left the timing up to how he’s feeling,” Mattingly said. “He’s had no setbacks. He’s up to six innings [per game]. He’s really kind of getting himself there with the amount he’s playing.
“I want him to be totally confident when he goes out on the field that he can be Matt Kemp.”
The Dodgers did activate their other missing outfielder, Carl Crawford, on Tuesday. Crawford had been on paternity leave. He is expected to join the team Wednesday.
The Dodgers sent Cuban infielder Alex Guerrero to triple-A Albuquerque to make room for Crawford on the 25-man roster.
Both missing outfielders played in a camp game against the Reds' triple-A team in Arizona. Kemp went one for five and played six innings, Crawford was one for three with a stolen base and played five innings.