Dodgers shut down Kemp due to hurt ankle
Just days before their first playoff appearance in four seasons, the Los Angeles Dodgers learned Sunday they'll be without center fielder Matt Kemp throughout the postseason.
A Sunday morning MRI to Kemp's injured left ankle showed significant swelling and weakening in the bone, according to Dodgers team doctor Neal ElAttrache, and the team decided that Kemp could do further damage by playing on the injury. He left the Dodgers clubhouse on crutches.
Kemp, the runner-up to Ryan Braun in the 2011 National League MVP race, has spent the majority of this season on the disabled list. He had offseason shoulder surgery and has dealt with hamstring issues on and off the past two seasons. Kemp also likely will undergo a touch-up operation on his left shoulder, he said, but ElAttrache said the ankle injury is unlikely to require surgery.
"It's like a bad nightmare, injury after injury after injury after injury," Kemp said. "Honestly, I don't know what to say any more except that the season's over with for me and I have to be that cheerleader or that leader on the bench to help those guys through those tough games they're going to play."
The loss of Kemp comes at a bad time for the Dodgers with Andre Ethier also dealing with a left ankle injury and unlikely to be available to play the outfield in the first round of the playoffs. The Dodgers open the NLDS in Atlanta Thursday.
If Ethier makes the Dodgers' playoff roster, it would likely be strictly as a pinch hitter. Without Kemp or Ethier, the Dodgers figure to give more playing time to utility man Skip Schumaker, who's batting .263 with two home runs. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said the team will give some consideration to moving Yasiel Puig to center field, but that would open up a hole in right.
"I don't think [anyone] in that room is going to be willing to give this thing up because Matt is hurt. To be honest with you, and I'm not saying it in a bad way, we played all year long without Matt and we went 42-8 without Matt," Mattingly said. "We're capable of winning. We're not just going to roll over."
Kemp was having an off season by his standards even when he was healthy, batting .270 with just six home runs in 73 games and a career-low .328 on-base percentage.
The Dodgers used the DL more than any team in baseball this season.
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