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.

J.D. Martinez tells teams he prefers an outfield role

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Free agent outfielder/slugger J.D. Martinez is reportedly seeking an outfield gig, says Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. According to Silverman’s sources, Martinez’s suitors have been informed that the veteran slugger would give preference to teams that can offer a corner outfield spot, rather than a DH-only role.

That could spell trouble for the Red Sox, who appear to be Martinez’s biggest suitors so far this offseason. Outfielders Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi are firmly established at the corners, and prior reports from club president Dave Dombrowski suggest that center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is not going anywhere anytime soon (thereby eliminating the possibility of reshuffling the outfield). The DH spot is still wide open for Martinez, who doesn’t seem to be totally closed off to the idea, but any full-time or part-time role on the field is likely off the table at this point.

Of course, the Red Sox aren’t the only ones pursuing Martinez’s services this winter. The 30-year-old slugger has been linked to both the Diamondbacks and Giants in weeks past, and while they have the roster flexibility to accommodate his preferences, they’ll need to clear another massive hurdle: the seven-year, $250 million contract he’s said to be seeking. Both clubs will need to get creative to make such a deal work. The Diamondbacks are rumored to be shopping right-hander Zack Greinke in an attempt to free up some room on their payroll for Martinez, while the Giants appear more inclined to scour the trade market for outfield help than shell out cash for another hefty contract in free agency.