Los Angeles, CA, United States (4E Sports) – Los Angeles Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp said he will not rush his return this year as he recovers from ankle and shoulder surgery, saying he has learned his lessons last season.
“I don’t have a timetable right now,” Kemp said. “My shoulder feels great. My foot is still healing. It’s going to take time. We’ll go from there.”
“I’m not going to rush to get back,” he added. “I’m going to be 100 percent when I start playing. When it’s right, it’s right.”
Last year, Kemp joined Spring Training despite being bothered by an injured shoulder. Kemp added that he “rushed back” from a hamstring and the ankle injury, the latter turning out to be a fracture instead of a sprain.
Kemp underwent surgery for torn labrum in his left shoulder in 2012. He also underwent a microfracture surgery on his left ankle. He injured the ankle on July 21 with an awkward slide into home plate in Washington after admittedly not running hard from third base on a ground ball.
Kemp is one year into an eight-year, $160 million contract extension he signed after the 2011 season, when he was runner-up to Ryan Braun for National League Most Valuable Player honors. The 29-year-old Kemp played in 73 games last year, hitting .270 with six home runs.
When he returns, Kemp still considers himself as a starter and an everyday player, despite the Dodgers having Andre Ethier, Carl Crawford and Yasiel Puig in the lineup.
“I’m an every-day player. I don’t want to talk about that,” Kemp said.
Kemp also said he was happy for teammate Clayton Kershaw on his $215 million contract extension, although he expects to get a new suit from Kershaw because of it.
“He’s unbelievable and he deserves everything he gets,” Kemp said. “He’s one of the hardest working kids I’ve ever seen.”