When the Los Angeles Dodgers gave Matt Kemp an eight year, $160 million contract extension in November of 2011, most thought it was a solid investment. Two seasons later the team has to be wondering if it grossly overpaid.
It’s not because of his play, but because he’s not on the field enough. After missing 56 games last season he has already missed 36 this season, and there is a chance that he could still miss more. In his first game back from his most recent stint on the DL he was pulled late in the game after hurting his ankle.
The injury occurred in the ninth when he failed to hustle down the third base line after Carl Crawford hit a slow ground ball towards first. Since he gave the Nationals a chance to make a play at home he was forced to slide–which is when he injured his ankle.
”I wasn’t running hard,” Kemp said. ”I took a hit away from CC. CC has every reason to be mad at me because that was my fault, and the results of me not running hard to home plate kind of tweaked my ankle a little bit.”
With the team surging into contention it could certainly use one its most potent weapons back in the line-up. While this season has not been a banner one for Kemp, against the Nationals Sunday he looked like the Kemp of old. He got the scoring started with a solo home run in the second, added an RBI double, and knocked in another run with a single in the fourth.
On the season he is hitting .254 with just four home runs.
The team has already said that he suffered a sprained ankle; no x-rays have been planned as of yet making it appear as if pulling him was more of a precautionary move.
”It’s not bad. I hope it’s not bad,” Kemp said. ”The biggest thing will be tomorrow when I wake up and see how it feels.”
The question now may be whether the team wants to risk further injury by putting even a slightly hobbled Kemp back in the line-up or give him a day off to make sure he’s healthy for the stretch run.