The Dodgers have officially activated Matt Kemp from the disabled list. Dylan Hernandez passes on tonight’s lineup and the Dodgers will unleash “Beast Mode” back in the third spot, batting behind Gwynn (starting in LF) and De Jesus (starting at 2B). In a corresponding move, the Dodgers optioned outfielder Jerry Sands back to Triple-A Albuquerque where he will have to keep working hard to get another call.
This move also signals that Scott Van Slyke has indeed passed Sands on the internal depth chart. But it’s too early to read too much into this, as I am sure Van Slyke will be joining his buddy back in Triple-A when Juan Rivera returns from the disabled list later this week. The Dodgers have also called up Nate Eovaldi from Double-A today, taking Ted Lilly’s spot in the starting rotation. He will take the mound tonight as the Dodgers continue their four game series tonight against the Milwaukee Brewers.
The timing of this could not be better, because my fantasy team is struggling big time without Kemp around. No joke. As Andre Ethier said in the clubhouse after the loss last night, “We’ve got some reinforcements!” Ah, yes, as good of news as this is for my fantasy team, it’s even better news for our Dodgers who look to get back on track against the Brewers tonight.
The Dodgers must be careful to not get too relaxed with the return of Kemp. The team has played very well during Kemp’s absence, and the Dodgers must continue to work as a team as they look to build on their lead in the NL West.
After Kemp initially injured his hamstring, he continued to play, but not at the level or intensity he had been playing at before the injury. In his last seven games, Kemp hit .200 (4 for 20) with only one RBI. His batting average fell from .392 to .359 during that stretch.
While there is obvious cause for concern, as there always is when it comes to getting a hamstring healthy, Kemp showed no signs of rust during his brief two-game rehab stint at Triple-A Albuquerque, he certainly appeared healthy again (five for seven, five RBIs, two home runs).
Without him, the Dodgers kept the momentum going as they went an impressive 9-5 and managed to gain a half-game over the Giants in the NL West standings. Tony Gwynn Jr. played a big role in that as he mostly filled in at center and hit .304 with six runs scored and three stolen bases.
Scary to think how good this team can be with a large portion of the team banged up and on the disabled list, including Kemp who seems all but destined for another All-Star game this year. This team has surprised a lot of people out there, and guess what the team just got their swagger back. Beast Mode just hit the resume button.