Wednesday, April 2, 2014

A healthy Kemp can turn our frowns upside down

Right now, the Dodgers are bummin'.  Clayton Kershaw will be out longer than expected, which means you can forget about the month of April.  Brian Wilson has just been placed on the 15-day DL with nerve damage in his pitching elbow... the same elbow that's already been through two Tommy John surgeries.  Ouch.

Bad news, right?  Of course.  But there is one thing that can make us smile once again: the return of Matt Kemp.

Let me clarify: the return of a HEALTHY Matt Kemp.  Will that ever happen?  Considering he hasn't played a game since September 27 of last year, it's not a stretch to think he will finally be rested and ready to roll.

We hope.

The gameplan right now is to activate him when he's eligible to come off of the DL on Friday.  That's also the day of the home opener against the Giants, so the timing is perfect.  Don Mattingly has all but said it will happen, as he is not in favor of a rehab assignment first.  That's a good thing, as Kemp just went through a bunch of swings in Arizona this spring, so it's full speed ahead.

As a huge Dodger fan, Kemp is still a guy who can bring so much excitement to the field, despite going through two very rough years because of injuries.  It's hard not to get up for a guy who came THIS close to a 40/40 season in 2011.  I don't expect to ever see him steal that many bases again, but his bat is so impactful, he can still do plenty of damage that way.

Right now the Dodgers sit at 3-1, and are one bad inning away from being perfect.  However, take away a seven-run final game in Australia, they haven't been getting the job done at the plate with seven runs in the other three.  Toss in the injury news to the $214 million ace and the top setup man, and you can see why it's not all sunshine and roses right now.

Which is why I'm very excited for Kemp's return.  The Dodgers can use this jolt of life, as they'll be playing the Giants and Diamondbacks the next couple of weeks, arguably the other top contenders in the NL West.  Plus they have the Tigers for a couple games next week, who are a top AL team with a great pitching staff.  Winning won't be easy.

For the sake of everyone, and especially Kemp himself, let's hope his return is a permanent one, as he regains his timing and form that led him to All-Star nominations not too long ago.  As Dodger fans, let's enjoy his return, as it's actually some good injury news for a change, and not something depressing for once.

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