“I think that’s fair to say,” Mattingly said when asked if Kemp’s intensifying workouts were a sign that game action could soon follow.
Kemp, recovering from serious ankle surgery, has begun to run and make turns, although not yet on the bases. He also has resumed tracking fly balls in the outfield. He has been taking batting practice and throwing throughout Spring Training. He will start the season on the disabled list.
“We’re seeing him take fly balls, getting jumps,” said Mattingly. “He’s swinging the bat good. It won’t be long before he’s in a game.”
Understandably though, as they’ve done all off-season, Dodgers management has refused to set a timetable or raise expectations on his return.
Mattingly, however, wouldn’t say if the club will see Kemp in a game before the team flight to Australia on March 16.
“I don’t put that kind of timetable on it,” he said. “As long as he’s moving forward.”
It makes sense and jives with the off-season company line regarding Kemp’s health, which has been basically to not rush proceedings via media quotes under any circumstances.
Timetable or not, it’s the first indication the Dodgers have given that we could soon see Kemp on the field again, and it certainly represents a positive step forward in the rehab process.
Also of note in terms of injury, Zack Greinke threw 34 pitches in a BP session today and felt “pretty good.”
Most importantly, it led to this assessment of his current speed.
“I could field now,” he said. “If I had to beat Dee (Gordon) to first base from the mound, Dee would beat me. If it was A.J. Ellis, I still might not, but I’d probably beat him.”
Poor A.J. Ellis.
Finally, Yasiel Puig was excused today to deal with a “personal matter.” No details on that were revealed.