Matt Kemp has been out since May 31 after aggravating his left hamstring strain in his second game back from the disabled list and manager Don Mattingly indicated yesterday that the Dodgers haven’t established a timetable for his return.
Kemp clearly won’t be back when eligible later this week, but that’s expected considering he said the aggravated injury was worse than the original version and the Dodgers initially projected a month-long absence.
For now Mattingly told Alex Angert of MLB.com that “we’re just moving forward with him, doing more activities and running.”
Tony Gwynn Jr. has been the primary center fielder in Kemp’s absence and has hit .281 in 25 games since the original injury, but that comes with zero homers and just two non-intentional walks for a measly .654 OPS that’s 200 points below Kemp’s career mark. Amazingly, despite all the missed time Kemp still ranks among the NL’s top 10 in homers.
The Red Sox and Mariners left nothing on the table Friday night, going head-to-head in a series opener that eventually ended 14-10 in the Sox’ favor. Led by Steven Wright and Wade LeBlanc — neither of whom made it past the fifth inning — the teams combined for 34 hits and four home runs, including two moonshots from Seattle’s Nelson Cruz and a five-run rally that gave Boston the edge in the seventh.
In the sixth inning, however, the Red Sox were still scrambling to make up a four-run deficit. Left fielder J.D. Martinez cut it in half with one swing, pouncing on an 89.5-mph fastball from Seattle right-hander Nick Vincent and posting it to dead center field for a two-run shot.
The 427-foot blast was Martinez’s 23rd of the season, tying Mike Trout for the most home runs in the league this year. While he still has a ways to go before eclipsing the career-best 45-HR mark he set in 2017, he’s off to a strong start this season: Entering Friday’s game, the 30-year-old slugger was batting .315/.386/.623 with a 1.009 OPS and AL-leading 55 RBI in 308 PA. He finished Friday’s game 4-for-5 with five RBI, just one triple shy of hitting for the cycle.
Heading into the All-Star Break, both Martinez and Trout still have some competition for the home run title. Jose Ramirez is sitting at 22 homers, while Nelson Cruz and Khris Davis are tied at 20 apiece.