Entering Sunday night’s nationally broadcast game against the Giants, Matt Kemp last homered on September 24, also against the Giants. Before that? July 21 against the Nationals, the fateful day he injured his ankle on a play at home plate. Kemp, playing in just his third game of the 2014 season, only needed his first two at-bats against Giants starter Matt Cain to notch his first two dingers of the season.
In the second inning, Kemp blasted a 1-0 fastball to left center for a solo shot, putting the Dodgers up 1-0. In the fourth, Kemp drove an 0-1 fastball to right center for a two-run bomb, increasing the Dodgers’ lead to 4-0. He finished 2-for-3 on the night and the Dodgers held on for a 6-2 victory.
One game does not a comeback make, however. Nobody doubts Kemp’s ability to be productive with the bat and in the outfield; they do, however, question his ability to stay healthy over an entire season, a feat he hasn’t accomplished since losing the NL MVP race to Ryan Braun in 2011.
Free agent right-hander Tim Lincecum isn’t ready to hang up his cleats just yet. At least, that’s the word from Lincecum’s agent, Rick Thurman, who says the 32-year-old is still “throwing and getting ready for the season” (via Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News).
Lincecum may not be ready to enter retirement, but another quote from Thurman suggests that he’ll be picky about where he pitches next. He doesn’t appear open to pitching overseas, and despite not having a contract for 2017 (or even any serious suitors), the right-hander is set on pitching in the big leagues this year. Whether or not he’s willing to take a bullpen role to do so remains to be seen.
While Baggarly predicts some interest in the veteran righty, there’s not much in Lincecum’s recent history to inspire faith in him as a starter, or even a reliever. He picked up a one-year, $2.5 million contract with the Angels following his hip surgery in 2015, and went 2-6 in 2016 with a 9.16 ERA, 5.4 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 over 38 1/3 innings. At this point, a minor league contract seems like the surest path back to major league success, though he’s unlikely to find an open spot on the Giants’ or Angels’ rosters anytime soon.
Free agent right-hander Jeff Manship has reportedly signed with the NC Dinos of the Korea Baseball Organization, according to FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The righty was non-tendered by the Indians in December.
Manship, 32, completed his second season with Cleveland in 2016. He delivered a 3.12 ERA, 4.6 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 rate over 43 1/3 innings, a slight decline after posting an 0.92 ERA with the club the year before. During eight years in the major leagues, Manship carries a 4.82 career ERA, 3.6 BB/9 and 6.4 SO/9 in multiple stints with the Twins, Rockies, Phillies and Indians.
The right-hander will be joined by fellow MLB transplants Eric Hacker and Xavier Scruggs, each of whom took one-year deals with the Dinos last month. Steve Adams of MLB Trade Rumors notes that each KBO team is allowed up to three foreign players, so Manship will round out the trio when he joins the roster. Any salary terms have yet to be disclosed.