Matt Kemp is coming! Matt Kemp is coming!
Exactly when is another matter. Currently on the 15-day disabled list, he cannot be activated until April 4 — and could be.
"It's a possibility," Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly said.
Kemp also could be sent out on a rehabilitation assignment, the Dodgers trying very hard to be careful in the prognosis department as he returns from off-season foot and shoulder surgeries.
Kemp did not join the team Tuesday when it practiced at Dodger Stadium for the first time since returning from Australia, where it swept two games against the Arizona Diamondbacks last weekend. He remains at the Dodgers' training facility in Phoenix, playing in camp games. In a game against the Cincinnati Reds' triple-A team Tuesday, he played six innings and went one for five.
Kemp may join the Dodgers on Thursday when they open the Freeway Series against the Angels, though he is not eligible to play.
If Kemp is activated April 4, he would have missed only the first five games of the regular 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 also played against the Reds' triple-A team Tuesday and went one for three and stole a base. He is expected to join the Dodgers in Los Angeles on Wednesday.
The Dodgers sent Cuban infielder Alex Guerrero to triple-A Albuquerque to make room for Crawford on the 25-man roster.
Zack Greinke joined the team Tuesday and is scheduled to start Thursday against the Angels, which puts him on track to start the second game in the upcoming regular-season series against the San Diego Padres.
Clayton Kershaw is expected to start Sunday in the first game against the Padres, but the Game 3 starter in San Diego has been left unsettled because of the toe injury suffered by Hyun-Jin Ryu Sunday in Australia.
The nail on the big toe of Ryu's right foot was partially torn off when he slid into third base. Ryu was scheduled to see a podiatrist Tuesday, but until the Dodgers learn the results they are unsure if he can make his scheduled start. If he's unable to go, Dan Haren or Paul Maholm would start next Wednesday.
"I'm concerned," Mattingly said. "It's not a long-term thing, but it could set us back and make us change the rotation we've been talking about."
Greinke remained in Phoenix during the trip to Sydney while rehabbing a strained right calf. Greinke said he feels fully recovered.
"I'm pretty happy where I'm at at this point in camp," he said. "I'd like to be closer to 100 pitches. The endurance is not quite there yet."
Greinke said he threw 72 pitches in his last start Sunday, but the "last five or 10 were not pretty."
Every Dodger asked said he felt strong and was not suffering from jet lag after returning from Australia.
"It seems like they all feel pretty good," Mattingly said. "Maybe our recovery, whatever we were doing and our light therapy, was good for us. It seems like everybody is in pretty good shape."
Josh Beckett said the right thumb that was slammed in a clubhouse door had improved enough that he had begun to throw curveballs. His pitch count remains down, but he is scheduled to throw Wednesday night in a simulated game. . . . Mattingly said he would play his regulars in the first two games against the Angels and try to get them three or four at-bats. . . . An MRI exam taken on Yasiel Puig's sore back showed no damage.