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PHOENIX –- Matt Kemp looked tentative running the bases in an early workout before the Dodgers' game against Arizona, and Manager Don Mattingly said he didn’t know whether the team would activate the sidelined center fielder Monday.
Kemp has been getting 10-plus at-bats a day in recent weeks at the Dodgers’ nearby spring-training complex. If activated, it’s unlikely he would be able to continue hitting in simulated games when the Dodgers start a three-game series in San Diego on Friday. That could negatively affect Kemp’s preparation for the playoffs.
If Kemp is reinstated to the active roster Monday, he would be available only to pinch-hit, according to Mattingly.
Kemp landed on the disabled list July 22 with a sprained left ankle. While rehabilitating at the Dodgers’ spring complex, he mildly strained his hamstring.
“Honestly, if I have any more setbacks, this season might be over with and I don’t want that to happen,” Kemp said. “We’re being a little cautious.”
Meanwhile, Mattingly drew up a lineup Monday that included Yasiel Puig, who didn’t start the previous day because of a hip problem.
Hanley Ramirez, Carl Crawford and Andre Ethier were still out of the lineup. Ramirez was expected to resume baseball activities. Crawford said he still felt something in his back and wasn’t planning to take batting practice. Ethier, who irritated a sprained ankle Friday, remained completely shut down.
As for Kemp, he said both his hamstring and ankle feel fine.
“I feel like I can play right now,” he said.
Kemp said he would be open to performing whatever role Mattingly has in mind for him, even if it’s just pinch-hitting.
“I just honestly want to help this team any way I can,” Kemp said. “But I want to play. I don’t want to just pinch-hit here, pinch-hit there. I want to go out and play. I’m trying to get to the point where I can play and help us on both sides, offense and defense.”
Kemp said he’s felt solid at the plate. He took early batting practice Monday at Chase Field in front of coaches and trainers.
“I’ve got maybe 100 at-bats in the last week, being out here in Arizona,” Kemp said. “I feel really good at the plate.”
Kemp has been on the DL three times this year, costing him 86 games.
“This season has been tough,” he said. “It’s been somewhat of a nightmare. Once one thing gets better, something else happens. It’s been a bunch of things getting on. I haven’t been healthy. But if I can come back, honestly, I think I can help this team. These guys have been doing a great job without me, but I feel I can make this team even better.”
Kemp said he was excited to be back with his teammates.
“I haven’t been around the team in three weeks, so I’m excited to be here, to [possibly] be in that lineup card and have a chance to come in and pinch-hit and do whatever I need to do to help the team win,” he said.
[UPDATED, 6:26 p.m.: The Dodgers officially activated Kemp prior to the start of Monday's game against the Diamondbacks.]Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times