Matt Kemp has no issues with shoulder in spring debut

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The high-priced Dodgers are going all in to make it back to the postseason, but they likely won’t get very far if Matt Kemp isn’t back to 100 percent following offseason surgery on his left shoulder. However, he passed his first test yesterday.

Kemp made his Cactus League debut as the DH against the Angels and went 0-for-2 with a groundout and a strikeout. He told Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times that swinging a bat in a game again was “weird,” but the good news is that he didn’t have any issues with his shoulder.

“It will get better and better as the at-bats go,” he said. “I fouled off a changeup that [Freddy] Garcia threw me, and last year that would have left my shoulder hurting a little bit and that didn’t hurt. So those are really good signs that my shoulder is stronger and I’m responding well to the rehab and everything I’ve done throughout the off-season to get it better.”

Kemp is expected to DH again on Sunday as the Dodgers continue to ease him into action, but it shouldn’t be long before he’s ready to play center field. The expectation is that he should be ready for Opening Day.

Kemp, 28, batted .303/.367/.538 with 23 home runs, 69 RBI, nine stolen bases and a .906 OPS in 106 games last year.

Report: Angels to sign Cody Allen

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Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Angels and reliever Cody Allen are in agreement on a one-year contract, pending a physical. The value of the contract is not yet known.

Allen, 30, was looking for an opportunity to close and the Angels can certainly provide that. He will likely be the favorite to break camp as the closer. 2018 was the roughest year of his career, however, as he finished with a 4.70 ERA, 27 saves, and a 80/33 K/BB ratio in 67 innings. Among Allen’s six full seasons, his 27.7 strikeout rate and 11.4 percent walk rate represented career-worsts. FanGraphs also shows him losing nearly a full MPH on his average fastball velocity.

The Angels lost closer Keynan Middleton to Tommy John surgery early last season and he likely won’t return until the second half of the 2019 season. Blake Parker, who handled save situations in Middleton’s place, was non-tendered by the Angels in November and ended up signing with the Twins. The closer’s role is Allen’s to lose, it seems.