Dodgers get more bad medical news on Matt Kemp and Josh Beckett
Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp was put on the disabled list Thursday but doesn’t think his strained right hamstring will sideline him for more than 15 days.
Josh Beckett, on the other hand, isn’t certain he will ever pitch again.
“Any time something like that happens to your arm or you start losing feeling and stuff … you think about it for sure,” Beckett said. “I don’t really want to think like that right now. I want to think about figuring out a way to deal with this.”
A three-time All-Star and two-time World Series champion, Beckett said he has felt various degrees of numbness in his pitching hand over the last four to five weeks. The condition worsened as Beckett tried to work his way back from a groin injury that landed him on the disabled list on May 15. That prompted him to undergo a 90-minute MRI exam, the results of which will be reviewed Monday by a nerve specialist in Dallas.
“I’m concerned,” said Beckett, 33. “I’ve never dealt with anything like this for this amount of time. We’ll just have to see what happens there.”
Kemp’s and Beckett’s setbacks came at a time when the injury-ravaged Dodgers appeared to be nearing full strength. All-Star shortstop Hanley Ramirez is scheduled to start a minor league rehabilitation assignment with Class-A Rancho Cucamonga on Friday and left-handed reliever Scott Elbert is ready to be activated.
Manager Don Mattingly said catcher A.J. Ellis is also a candidate for the disabled list, as he is dealing with a strained side muscle. Ellis’ uncertain status was the reason the Dodgers called up catcher Tim Federowicz from triple-A Albuquerque to replace Kemp on the active roster instead of an outfielder.
The Dodgers have enough arms to offset the loss of Beckett, who is 0-5 with a 5.91 earned-run average.
Replacing Kemp will be more difficult.
Kemp felt his hamstring tighten Wednesday as he chased a seventh-inning double by the Angels’ Mike Trout into right-center field. He was removed from the game later in the inning.
Kemp underwent an MRI exam the next day that confirmed the original diagnosis of a mild strain. Because Kemp missed 51 games last season with a strain of his other hamstring, he was understanding of management’s decision to put him on the disabled list.
“I don’t want to be in the same situation where I come back and hurt it again and sit out another month,” he said.
Andre Ethier replaced Kemp in center field Thursday, as he moved over from right field. Ethier had made only two previous starts in center field in his career: in the 2010 All-Star game, when the National League didn’t have a natural center fielder, and on May 15 of last season, when Kemp was injured.
“We’ll play today and if it needs to be longer, then let’s go for it,” Ethier said.
Mattingly described the move as a short-term solution.
The Dodgers will turn to their farm system to find a player who can play center field on an everyday basis until Kemp returns. But Mattingly said he expects the player to come from triple A and not double A, which is where top outfield prospects Joc Pederson and Yasiel Puig are playing.
Of calling up Pederson or Puig, Mattingly said, “I don’t mind it. I might not be here tomorrow.”
But Mattingly conceded that promoting either of them could stunt their development and said he would set aside his personal interests to do what was best for their long-term futures.
That being the case, the Dodgers figure to call on Tony Gwynn Jr. or Matt Angle, who have played the majority of games in center field for their triple-A affiliate.
Gwynn, 30, is arguably the organization’s best defensive player and appeared in 100 or more games for the Dodgers in each of the last two seasons. Angle’s major league experience is limited to 31 games he played for the Baltimore Orioles in 2011.
Get our high school sports newsletter
Prep Rally is devoted to the SoCal high school sports experience, bringing you scores, stories and a behind-the-scenes look at what makes prep sports so popular.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.