Matt Kemp is the leading vote-getter in the National League, but the Los Angeles Dodgers will hold their superstar out of the game. Kemp does, however, have the thumbs up to compete in the Home Run Derby.
Kemp has missed all of June with a strained left hamstring, keeping him from running, but he has been able to swing a bat. Here’s what Dodgers head trainer Sue Falsone said about the decision:
“It’s basically glorified BP (batting practice), and he’s been taking BP for a while. I know it’s an increase in intensity, but we’re all on the same page as far as that.”
Kemp first injured his hammy May 13, returned on the 29th, but lasted just two games before reaggravating the injury. The team shut him down and hoped to have him back sometime shortly after the All-Star Break.
This move seems like a vote of confidence from the Dodgers, who have been cautious with Kemp since the second injury. Hamstring injuries are some of the most persistent, and the team isn’t likely to remain in contention without its superstar much longer.
The derby will serve as somewhat of a nationally televised rehab assignment for Kemp, who is surely thirst for competition. The 27-year-old centerfielder has had to watch his teammates pace the National League.
At 43-31, the Dodgers have the NL’s best mark, but they’re 11-12 this month and lead the San Francisco Giants by just two games in the West.
In just 36 games this season, Kemp has 12 home runs and a jaw-dropping slash line of .355/.444/.719. The Home Run Derby takes place July 9 at Kaufman Stadium in Kansas City.