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.
Robert Murray and MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reported earlier, respectively, that the Phillies signed pitcher Francisco Liriano and infielder Neil Walker to minor league contracts. If he makes the major league roster, Liriano will earn a salary of $1.5 million with an additional $1.25 million available through performance incentives. Walker’s contract information is not yet known.
Liriano, 36, struggled from 2016-18 but enjoyed a productive year out of the bullpen for the Pirates this past season. He posted a 3.47 ERA with 63 strikeouts and 35 walks over 70 innings. The lefty was quite effective against same-handed batters, limiting fellow lefties to a .659 OPS. That would figure to be a key component if Liriano makes the Phillies’ Opening Day roster.
Walker, 34, hit .261/.344/.395 with eight home runs and 38 RBI over 381 plate appearances with the Marlins last year. The veteran is versastile, having played first, second, and third base along with both corner outfield spots in recent seasons. Despite Walker’s versatility, it is tough to see room on the Phillies’ roster for him, barring injuries to other players. It never hurts to have depth.