Matt Kemp described his injured hamstring as being 85 percent healed and told Ken Gurnick of MLB.com that he expects to return from the disabled list when eligible on May 29.
Before that happens he’ll need to avoid a setback while on a brief minor-league rehab assignment, which likely won’t begin until next weekend. And if all goes well he’d be back in the Dodgers’ lineup next Tuesday against the Brewers at Dodger Stadium.
So far the Dodgers have gone 6-2 without Kemp, which is remarkable considering how much of their offense came from the slugging center fielder before the injury. Also remarkable is that Kemp hasn’t played since May 13 and yet still ranks second in homers, third in runs, and fifth in total bases among all NL hitters despite missing 20 percent of the season.
Lefty reliever Jonny Venters was among a handful of players the Rays signed to minor league contracts, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports.
Venters, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2012 and has logged just 27 2/3 innings in the minors in the meantime due to a continuous battle with his elbow. According to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Venters has undergone four — four! — Tommy John surgeries.
When he was healthy, Venters was a fearsome late-game option for the Braves. He posted a 1.95 ERA with 93 strikeouts in 83 innings in 2010, and a 1.84 ERA with 96 strikeouts in 88 innings in 2011. His first-half performance in 2011 earned him a spot on the National League All-Star roster.
Venters has spent the last two years in the Rays’ system and he’ll try to make it a third.