Los Angeles Dodgers star center fielder, and perennial MVP-candidate, Matt Kemp, finally underwent shoulder surgery for an injury he suffered after his gruesome crash into the center field fence at Coors field in Colorado back at end of August.
While the surgery was a success, the news wasn’t as optimistic as the Dodgers had hoped. The Dodgers, along with Kemp, were hoping that there would only need to be minor cleanup of the shoulder. However, surgeon Dr. Neal ElAttrache, discovered that there was a complete tear of the labrum and it would need to be reattached to the socket.
ElAttrache was optimistic that Kemp would be ready for opening day in April. Just how ready and how much strength Kemp would have is yet to be determined. First baseman Adrian Gonzalez had the same surgery a few years back and he claimed that while he was good enough to play, his power was lacking for a few months before he was back to normal.
Kemp’s torn labrum does justify his recent play, to an extent. In the first 20 games after the injury in Colorado, Kemp batted a ridiculously low .159 with two home runs and six RBI’s. But it wasn’t just the batting average, it was the plate discipline, or lack thereof. Kemp would often find himself swinging at pitches way out of the zone far too often. None was more evident than Tuesday night against the Giants. With the Dodgers trailing by a run with two out and a runner on third, Kemp had a golden opportunity to tie the game with a base hit. He worked the count full only to swing and miss at a pitch at his feet. The Dodgers would lose by a run, eliminating them from the postseason.
Despite his reckless abandon playing center field, there is no talk of moving him to another outfield position. Kemp claims that he is a center fielder, end of discussion. And when healthy, he is one of the best ones in the league.
As much star power as the Dodgers now have, there is no doubt that Kemp is the heart and soul of the team. Without him healthy, the Dodgers chances next year don’t look quite as good.
So here’s to a speedy recovery, Matt. Rest up and get well. And then gear up for the 2013 campaign. By the looks of it, it’s going to be a special one.