Two days later, Matt Kemp returns to disabled list

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Matt Kemp said this one was worse than the original injury, and he was placed back on the disabled list Thursday just two days after returning from a strained left hamstring.

Kemp aggravated the injury running the bases in Wednesday’s game and soon afterwards snapped a bat over his thigh in frustration.

“He has a little bit of swelling in the same area, as well as a new strain in a higher part of that hamstring,” said trainer Sue Falsone.

Falsone added that Kemp will be sidelined at least four weeks. Fortunately, the Dodgers got off to such a strong start that they should be able to withstand the absence. Even though they’ve lost three games in a row, they’re still 32-18 on the season, putting them 5 1/2 games up on the Giants in the NL West.

Expect to see a lot more Tony Gwynn Jr. while Kemp is out. Gwynn, who is hitting .279/.318/.344 on the season, will likely lead off against right-handers. Elian Herrera could make some starts in center against lefties, with the newly recalled Alex Castellanos playing second base.

Reds ink Oliver Perez to a minor-league deal

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The Reds have signed free agent reliever Oliver Perez to a minor-league contract, the team announced Saturday. The deal comes with a major-league invite and could be worth $1.25 million if Perez secures a roster spot this spring, with an additional $500,000 in potential performance bonuses.

Perez, 36, is coming off of a two-year run with the Nationals. He produced a 4.64 ERA, 3.3 BB/9 an d10.6 SO/9 through 50 relief appearances and 33 innings with the club in 2017. The veteran lefty hasn’t kept an ERA under 4.00 in at least four seasons, but he continues to be undeniably solid against left-handed batters, holding them to a .227/.301/.364 batting line over 18 1/3 innings last year.

While returning southpaw Wandy Peralta appears to have locked down a bullpen spot already, Perez will still compete for another role against fellow left-handers Cody Reed and Amir Garrett, both of whom also have experience in the rotation. If Perez doesn’t break camp with the team, MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon notes, he’ll be permitted to opt out of his contract. The Reds are currently looking to bounce back from a dismal performance in 2017, one in which their bullpen ranked 28th among major league teams with a collective 5.63 ERA and -1.2 fWAR.