Dodgers’ Matt Kemp won’t rush back into the lineup
CHICAGO — Matt Kemp said he hoped the hamstring injury that kept him out of the Dodgers’ starting lineup Sunday will last only a day or two, but he’s not pressing the issue.
“It’s something that maybe just needs to be rested one day,” Kemp said. “If I try to go out there and do something stupid and pop it, it could end up being two weeks.
“I’ll see how I feel tomorrow when I wake up,” he said. “Hopefully, I can play tomorrow.”
The center fielder, who has been red-hot at the plate this season, leads the big leagues with 12 home runs and he was the National League’s player of the month in April.
Kemp said he first felt the twinge of pain in the next-to-last play of Saturday’s game when the Chicago Cubs’ Ian Stewart “hit a ball in the gap. I went to get it and kind of pulled it a little bit.”
Kemp did pinch-hit Sunday to extend his streak of consecutive games played to 393, but “we talked about that and that [streak] is not that important” in the face of a potential long injury, Manager Don Mattingly said.
“He doesn’t want to miss 15 days and then take 10 days to get back in the swing of it,” Mattingly said. “He won’t be back out there until he’s basically able to say, ‘I’m running pain-free, I don’t feel anything.’”
Kemp said, “It kind of does mean something for me to play every day, but I don’t want to do anything dumb to put my team in a situation where they lose me for a week or two weeks.
“I’m going to be honest with them if it doesn’t feel good,” he added. “Probably about two years ago I would have said, ‘I can play and it doesn’t hurt,’ and maybe have injured myself more.”
It was unclear after Sunday’s game just how soon Jerry Hairston Jr. might rebound from his hamstring injury.
“Jerry doesn’t sound very good,” Mattingly said, noting that Hairston initially had trouble getting down the dugout steps. “I’ve seen enough of those; I think he got it pretty good.”
But Hairston said, “I’m hoping, if anything, it’s just a mild, a little, strain and hopefully it’s maybe just a couple days” he would be out.
“This one felt more like a cramp,” he said. “Hopefully, it will relieve itself in a few days. I’ll see how it feels tomorrow. I know with hamstrings you want to make sure.”
Hairston, who can switch among several positions and already has made several dazzling plays this season, also was batting .302 entering Sunday’s game, where he played third base for injured Juan Uribe.
Before the game, Mattingly said he wasn’t sure how long it would take before Uribe — who has a sore wrist — returned to the starting lineup.
But Mattingly said Uribe, who has been available for pinch-hitting, would have “a full work-up” of tests on the wrist when the club returned to Los Angeles on Monday.
“He’s not quite right, so it doesn’t make sense to try to throw him out there for four at-bats and end up in trouble,” Mattingly said.
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