After nearly a month on the disabled list with a strained hamstring, Matt Kemp has returned: the Los Angeles Dodgers activated the outfielder from the D.L. on Tuesday afternoon.
Kemp will return to center field and bat fifth in the Dodgers’ lineup tonight against the San Francisco Giants.
In all, Kemp was sidelined for 28 games, prompting Don Mattingly to play Andre Ethier in center and Yasiel Puig in right. With Kemp back, Ethier shift over to right and Puig will make his first career start in left field. Kemp’s activation presents the Dodgers with arguably their most formidable middle of the lineup thus far on the season, as the 2-6 spots will feature Puig, Adrian Gonzalez, Hanley Ramirez, Kemp and Ethier.
In the hours before Tuesday night’s game, injured pitcher Ted Lilly was throwing a simulated game with Kemp on the field, fueling speculation that Kemp was close to returning – which turned out to be true.
Outfielder Scott Van Slyke, also on the D.L., is eligible to be activated on Wednesday, but the Los Angeles Times’ Dylan Hernandez notes that Van Slyke will remain with Single-A Rancho Cucamonga for further rehab.
After last night’s 3-1 victory, the Dodgers will attempt to lock up a series win and extend their winning streak to a season-high four behind Stephen Fife, who will match up against Michael Kickham (making his second big-league start).
The Dodgers’ lineup with Kemp back in:
Mark Ellis 2B
Yasiel Puig LF
Adrian Gonzalez 1B
Hanley Ramirez SS
Matt Kemp CF
Andre Ethier RF
Tim Federowicz C
Nick Punto 3B
Stephen Fife P