Matt Kemp goes 0-for-5 in first rehab game

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Matt Kemp began a minor-league rehab assignment at Single-A last night, going 0-for-5 with a strikeout and two double plays to begin his comeback from shoulder and ankle injuries that have basically sidelined him since early July.

Not exactly the results he was looking for in his return to game action, but Kemp downplayed any worries to Lance Pugmire of the Los Angeles Times and, if things go well for him at Single-A in the next two games, he could be back in the Dodgers’ lineup as soon as Sunday.

Kemp served as the designated hitter last night and Pugmire reports that he avoided running full speed on his ankle at times, but he’s slated to play center field in the next two games. And then Dodgers manager Don Mattingly will start trying to figure out how to divvy up the outfield playing time among Kemp, Yasiel Puig, Carl Crawford, and Andre Ethier.

Nick Markakis leads all NL outfielders in All-Star voting

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I would hope by now that I no longer have to preface All-Star talk with my usual “none of this matters” disclaimers, but please keep all of that in mind when I mention that Nick Markakis is leading all National League outfielders in All-Star voting.

Markakis, with 1,173,653 votes, has surpassed the slumping Bryce Harper in that category. Harper has 1,002,696 votes. The third place outfielder is Matt Kemp of the Dodgers with 925,697. Fourth place — Charlie Blackmon of the Dodgers — is like 300,000 votes back of Kemp.Yes, Markakis, Harper and Kemp may be the starting NL outfield. Brandon Nimmo — not on the ballot — should be grumpy, but he’ll get his chance I’m sure.

The thing about it: Markakis, for as unexpected as his appearance may be on this list, deserves to at least be in the top three. He’s second in WAR among National League outfielders behind Lorenzo Cain. He’s slowed down a good bit in June and he’s coming off of a 2017 season in which he had a 96 OPS+ and 0.7 WAR, but he’s having quite an outstanding season. I write that mostly so that there is a record of it come October and we’ve all forgotten it.

Seriously, though, good for Markakis, who has never made an All-Star Game. Good for Kemp too for that matter, who most people assumed was a walking — well, limping — corpse heading into this season. Good for Harper because anything that can keep up the guise of him having a good year when, in reality, he’s really not, will help his confidence as he heads into free agency.

Finally, good for the American League, who will likely get to face a far, far inferior National League team next month in Washington.

The rest of the voting: