Matt Kemp expects to come off DL when eligible on May 29

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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.

The Phillies plan to spend money and “maybe even be a little bit stupid about it”

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In an age in which even baseball’s richest teams talk about tight budgets and keeping payroll low, it’s pretty rare to hear anyone connected with a front office talking about freely spending money. Phillies owner John Middleton, however, offered up something rare about the team’s approach to free agency.

“We’re going into this expecting to spend money, and maybe even be a little bit stupid about it,” he told Bob Nightengale or USA Today. He then added, “we just prefer not to be completely stupid.” That save aside, it was a pretty unusual sentiment these days.

“Stupid” could certainly mean Bryce Harper, who the Phillies have long been expected to pursue. It could even mean Harper and Manny Machado. Why not? At the moment the Phillies’ payroll for 2019 is looking to be just a shade above $100 million, so even adding, say, $70 million to that would not put them in an unreasonable position compared to other competitors. And that’s before you figure in any sort of back-loading or deferred money that Harper and/or Machado might agree to.

Or, even if they didn’t get one or both of those guys, they could spend that same kind of money on multiple free agents. Patrick Corbin? Marwin Gonzalez? A handful of others? We counted down the top 100 free agents last week and any number of them could be acquired given the sort of payroll flexibility a large market team like the Phillies appear to have. It merely requires the will to do it. A will which, it seems, John Middleton possesses.

How novel.