This time the Dodgers are not going to dance around with Matt Kemp and his hamstring issue. This time they wasted no time in placing him on the disabled list.
They put him on the 15-day disabled list before Thursday’s game and, at least for now, called up catcher Tim Federowicz from triple-A Albuquerque.
"It's just a mild strain," Kemp said. "It's something that can be worse, so you prevent it now. You don't want it to linger the whole year. Get it taken care of right now."
Kemp said he only expected to be on the DL for the 15 days. Federowicz is in the lineup Wednesday at catcher, with backup catcher Ramon Hernandez starting as the designated hitter against the Angels.
Andre Ethier, who made his first professional start in center field in the 2010 All-Star game, is in center, with Scott Van Slyke in right and batting cleanup. This is only Ethier’s second appearance in center in a regular-season game and first start.
“The whole year we’ve been figuring out a way to patch up things where guys were hurt, and just going and moving on from there,” Ethier said. “It’s something that needed to be done today. Donnie [Mattingly] asked me and I said, 'Sure, let’s do it.’”
“We’ll play today and if needs to be longer, then let’s go for it and do,” Ethier said. “It’s one where we’re just trying to figure out what we can do today to give us the best chance. And this is it, and we’ll move onto tomorrow when we get there.”
The Dodgers’ best center-field prospect is Joc Pederson at double-A Chattanooga. Pederson was not in the lineup Wednesday for the Lookouts and spring training phenom Yasiel Puig moved from right to center.
It sounds as though Pederson might be on his way and will become the primary center fielder until Kemp returns.
[Updated at 5:41 p.m.: Mattingly said it was unlikely the Dodgers would call up a center fielder from double-A Cahttanooga, but were focusing on triple-A Albuquerque.
The primary center fielders for the Isotopes this season have been Matt Angle (29 games) and Tony Gwynn Jr. (19 games). Angle was not in the Isotopes' lineup Thursday. Angle is batting .293 with three homers, 23 RBIs, 25 runs and 10 steals. Gywnn is hitting .288 with one homer, 14 RBIs, 19 runs and three steals.
Mattingly said catcher A.J. Ellis is feeling a mild strain in his left side, and they would call up a center fielder once they had a better feel for the severity of his injury.]
Last year Kemp went on the disabled list twice because of a left hamstring strain. This time it’s on the right, and although the Dodgers called it a mild strain, they are clearly not going to take chances.
Last year Kemp went on the DL with the hamstring injury, came back too soon and reinjured it in his third game back, missing nearly six weeks. Kemp said there was some talk of waiting a few days to see how the hamstring responded before placing him on the DL.
"There was, but I had hamstring problems last year," he said. "I don't want to be in the same situation where I come back and hurt it again and sit out another month."