Matt Kemp once played 399 consecutive games, which was the longest streak in the major leagues at the time. The streak earned Kemp the reputation one of baseball’s ironmen.
About to spend his 12th game of the season on the disabled list Monday, Kemp was fearing he could develop an entirely different reputation.
“I don’t want to be labeled as that guy who’s always getting hurt, but it’s starting to look like that,” Kemp said. “It’s a weird transition.”
Kemp spent 51 games on the disabled list last season. He was initially expected to return to the Dodgers lineup on Friday in Pittsburgh. But that plan was scrapped after Kemp felt something in his right hamstring Sunday in a workout at Dodger Stadium.
“It’s frustrating,” he said. “I want to play. I don’t want to sit out any games. But I have to be careful with this hamstring. I had these problems last year. I don’t want to have the same problems again.”
Until he returned to Dodger Stadium on Sunday, Kemp spent more than a week rehabilitating his strained hamstring at the Dodgers’ spring training complex in Phoenix. He said he worked on his swing, but wasn’t certain if he was close to fixing the problems that contributed to his .265 average.
“Hitting in the cage and on the field is different,” he said.
As for his plans moving forward, Kemp said, “I don’t know yet. We’re taking it day by day.”