Los Angeles Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp has an irritated left hamstring that caused him to leave Sunday's game against the Colorado Rockies early. The All-Star and 2011 National League MVP runner-up will have an MRI on Monday to determine his status, but Kemp was sure the injury wouldn't cause him to be out for a long period of time.
"I'm definitely not going on the DL. That's not happening," Kemp said. "This team needs me."
Kemp first injured the hamstring last Sunday in Wrigley Field, and said it feels roughly the same a week later, with tightness. After hitting 12 home runs in 23 games in April, Kemp has no home runs in 11 games in May. Kemp said his whole game has been affected.
"I haven't been able to run the way I want to run," said Kemp. "It's a little bit of everything. You need your legs to hit. Maybe some of those balls I hit to warning track would have had a little bit more power if I had all my legs."
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly removed Kemp from the game after Kemp grounded out to end the third inning. First base coach Davey Lopes noticed Kemp grimacing while running to first and mentioned it to Mattingly, who had assistant trainer Greg Harrel check Kemp in the dugout. Mattingly talked to Kemp as he was heading out to his position in center field.
"I said, 'Matt, if you feel anything at all, don't go out there,' and Matt turned around," Mattingly said. "That gave me the answer right there."
Mattingly didn't want to speak for the training staff, but said he wouldn't be surprised if Kemp missed a day or two. Kemp currently has a streak of 399 consecutive games played, the longest active streak in the majors.
"You can survive without your top guys temporarily, but you just can't do it long term," Mattingly said.
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