Reality called the Dodgers on Thursday, and it might as well have been a siren beckoning them onto the rocky shore.
The results of an MRI on Matt Kemp’s hamstring showed he not only reinjured the original strain Wednesday but suffered a second one.
Dodgers trainer Sue Falsone said Kemp is expected to be out of the lineup for at least four weeks.
That’s a best-case scenario, and Falsone said she was uncertain if he would be able to return to a major-league game by then.
Kemp returned to the 15-day disabled list he had just come off of Tuesday. The Dodgers called up outfielder/infielder Alex Castellanos to fill his spot on the roster, but obviously not his place on the team. Castellanos was scheduled to join the team prior to game time Thursday.
Manager Don Mattingly tried his best to put on a brave face.
“It should be a good time,” he said. “We’ll find out what kind of club we are. We were able to find out for a couple of weeks when Matt was out and guys stepped up. And we’re going to have to do it again.
“We’ll learn more about our team. Are we going to bend but not break? We’ll see what happens.”
Falsone said both of Kemp’s strains are rated as grade one, the lowest level, and the second was slightly higher in his left leg.
“Obviously having two different strains in one muscle, it’s going to be a little longer from a rehab standpoint,” she said.
Returning from his MRI just before the Dodgers took the field Thursday for their pregame workout, Kemp immediately went into the trainer’s room. The reinjury and new injury came Wednesday as he scored from first on a double by Andre Ethier in the first inning.
Kemp started to slow down as he approached third, but when center fielder Carlos Gomez bobbled the drive he accelerated again to score, possibly when the leg gave out.
“I don’t think we can say the first strain caused the second strain,” Falsone said. “It takes the body time to heal and he reached all those milestones before, so now he has this new strain. Physics happen.”
Kemp will have missed almost two months of games by the time he returns, and then he will have to get his swing back. He was the National League Player of the Month in April (.417, 12 homers, 25 RBI, .490 and .893 on-base and slugging percentages).
And then, of course, there is always the danger he injures the hamstring again. Falsone said only bone heals as strong as it was before injury.
“Any other tissue in the body heals with scar,” she said. “Scar is always inherently deeper than original tissue. So anytime you have any type of issue with scar tissue, you always have a little bit of susceptibility to weakness in that area.”
The Dodgers went 9-5 while Kemp was on the DL the first time. Outfielder Juan Rivera, currently on a rehab assignment with his own hamstring injury, is expected to rejoin the team this weekend.