UPDATE: The Dodgers just announced that Kemp left the game with a right knee contusion and was taken for precautionary X-rays on his jaw. He doesn’t have any concussion symptoms, so it sounds like he won’t have to miss much time.
9:54 PM: Matt Kemp crashed into the center field fence at Coors Field last night in the eighth inning, but managed to stay in the game. He wasn’t as fortunate tonight.
Kemp was trying to track down a fly ball off the bat of Josh Rutledge in the bottom of the first inning tonight when he ran full-speed into the center field fence. You can watch video of the play here.
Kemp was on the ground for several moments while being examined by team trainers, but he eventually got to his feet and convinced all involved that he was OK to stay in the game. The ball found him with the very next batter though, as Jordan Pacheco hit a bloop to center field which caused Kemp to make a diving attempt. He came up empty-handed and appeared to be flexing his neck and jaw when he got back up. He was removed from the game after the next batter.
Kemp has already served two stints on the disabled list this year with hamstring injuries. The Dodgers have added plenty of reinforcements over the past month, but the road to a potential postseason berth would be a lot tougher if he requires another extended absence.
The Mets have begun working outfielder Jay Bruce and second baseman Neil Walker at first base as potential insurance in the event Lucas Duda continues to experience back discomfort, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. Duda has been sidelined recently due to back spasms and missed all but 47 games last season as a result of a stress fracture in his lower back.
Manager Terry Collins spoke about Bruce’s work at first base on Sunday, saying, “I liked everything I saw today. “It looks like he’s got the athleticism, he’s got the hands, he’s got the arm angle. He made some throws in our drills that you wouldn’t expect an outfielder to be able to make, but yet he does. If that’s where we have to go, I think we’ll be fine.”
Bruce has only three games’ worth of experience at first base at the major league level, but still has high expectations for himself. He said, “I am going to work at it. I want to give myself a chance and the team a chance. I am not going to go over there and be a butcher. It’s just not the way I go about my business on the baseball field and it wouldn’t be fair to the team if I wasn’t capable to do it, so I am going to work at it and we’ll see what happens.”
The Mets made Bruce available via trade over the offseason but didn’t get an offer that whet their appetite. As a result, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out in the Mets’ crowded outfield.
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.
There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.
Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.