The Dodgers have announced that star center fielder Matt Kemp will not be appearing in any spring training games until the start of March at the very earliest. This is hardly a big deal for team or player, as the games at this point in the spring are still largely focused on letting minor league invitees prove themselves. It’s safe to say that Kemp, a seven-year veteran with an .853 career OPS, does not need to worry about proving himself.
In fact, the only thing the 28-year-old needs to worry about proving is his health, and sitting out the first few games of spring training can only help him in that department. While the Dodgers have been as active as any team in baseball this offseason when it comes to improving their roster, having Kemp in the lineup all year is a crucial component for a successful finish, and obviously the main goal is just to make sure he’s ready to go for opening day.
Kemp, who had a breakout season in 2011 and fell just one home run shy of a 40-40 season, was en route to another outstanding campaign a year ago before running into injury trouble that limited him to just 106 games. He was still very good when he did play, hitting .303/.367/.538 with 23 home runs. When healthy, he’s one of the game’s very best, and there’s no reason for Los Angeles to take any chances in this situation.