In a change of plans, he started today’s game and batted second after Yasiel Puig showed up late.
The Dodgers activated center fielder Matt Kemp from the disabled list today. The team planned not to start him, but after Yasiel Puig showed up late to the ballpark. Kemp was placed into Puig spot in the order — hitting second — and took over in center field.
Puig has irked Dodgers manager Don Mattingly a few other times in the past, so it’s not surprising that Puig was removed from the lineup.
Kemp, now 29, flied out to shallow right field in his first at bat, but Los Angeles appears ready to move forward with him slowly as he works his way back into regular playing time.
Once Puig gets out of the doghouse, he’ll likely return to right field, but the rotation of Andre Ethier, Carl Crawfor, Puig and Kemp hasn’t been determined. Trade rumors have surrounded the Dodgers outfield since Puig emerged from the minors. Although he seems the least of those four likely to be moved, he certainly isn’t helping his case by showing up late.
The Dodgers have one of those good problems in the outfield with Kemp back in the mix, but he’s struggled to stay healthy as has Carl Crawford. Puig has also had his bumps and bruises. Their depth could be beneficial if someone gets hurt, but it could also cause one of the team’s marquee players to become frustrated with his playing time.
When healthy, Kemp has the talent to be one of the best players in the game. So, even though his return might make filling the lineup card out a little harder for Mattingly, the Dodgers have to be pleased that he’s back on the field — especially considering the fact that they still owe him well over $100 million through 2020.
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