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Dodgers' Matt Kemp runs the bases

Matt KempSportsBaseballDon MattinglyLos Angeles DodgersArena Football LeagueCorey Seager

Matt Kemp could start a minor league rehabilitation assignment as early as Thursday, as he ran the bases Tuesday for the first time since spraining his left ankle more than five weeks ago.

"I was a little skeptical, but it turned out to be really, really good," Kemp said. "It felt good. It was pretty fun to get out there and run. It's been a while.

"I was scared. I mean, not scared. Just a little hesitant, you know? Getting out there running for the first time, you don't know what to expect. You don't know what it's going to feel like, certain cuts, how you're going to respond. But it went better than I thought."

The medical staff's plan calls for Kemp to run the bases again Wednesday. If his ankle holds up, the next step would be to play in a minor league game, probably with Class-A Rancho Cucamonga.

Kemp didn't know how many at-bats he would need before he would be ready to be activated. Kemp has spent 69 games on the disabled list and hasn't played since he was injured in a home-plate collision July 21.

Kemp's return will create a surplus in the outfield, where Yasiel Puig, Andre Ethier and Carl Crawford have been playing in his absence.

Manager Don Mattingly wouldn't reveal how he planned to allocate playing time, but he strongly hinted all four outfielders will take turns on the bench.

That isn't what Kemp envisions.

"I'm a center fielder," Kemp said. "That's my role, to play center field every day. I don't know why people keep asking me what role I'm going to play.

"I want to play every day. I don't like to sit out of games. I like to play. I like to give my team a chance to win and think I can do that."

Would he accept not playing every day?

"I'm not worried about that," Kemp said. "I'm just worried about getting out there and playing with my team."

Mattingly doesn't think Kemp will be a problem if he doesn't play every day.

"Matt's had a rough year physically," Mattingly said. "It's not hard to see. I think Matt's going to understand where we're at. He sees what's going on."

That doesn't mean Mattingly expects Kemp to be content.

"Somebody's going to be mad," Mattingly said. "I don't expect them not to be mad. If they weren't mad, I'd probably be worried about them."

Seager to AFL

Shortstop Corey Seager, the Dodgers' No. 1 pick in the 2012 draft, will be among the team's prospects in the Arizona Fall League this year. The AFL is a finishing school for baseball's top prospects.

Seager, 19, hit .309 with 12 home runs and 57 runs batted in in 74 games with Class-A Great Lakes. That earned him a promotion this month to High-A Rancho Cucamonga, where he became the youngest player in the California League. Seager has slumped since making the move, as he went into Tuesday batting .165 in 21 games.

Other Dodgers minor leaguers on the Dodgers' AFL roster are outfielder Brian Cavazos-Galvez and catchers Pratt Maynard and Chris O'Brien. Their team, the Glendale Desert Dogs, has four spots reserved for Dodgers pitchers.

Double-A outfielder Joc Pederson, the Dodgers' consensus No. 1 prospect, won't play in the AFL. He is expected to play winter ball, probably in Venezuela.

dylan.hernandez@latimes.com

Twitter: @dylanohernandez

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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Matt KempSportsBaseballDon MattinglyLos Angeles DodgersArena Football LeagueCorey Seager
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