ST. LOUIS -- The Braves plan to have left fielder Matt Kemp off the disabled list and back in their lineup Friday in the first home game after their two-city trip, manager Brian Snitker said.
Kemp has been on the DL since July 29 with a strained right hamstring, his second DL stint this season for injuries to that hamstring. The 32-year-old also missed a few starts for a left-hamstring strain, but didn’t require a DL stint for that.
He accompanied the Braves on their current trip to continue working personally with one of their physical therapists during pregame stretching, sprinting and agility workouts, in addition to taking batting practice both indoors and with the team on the field.
“I think probably Friday he’ll be ready to go,” Snitker said. “Right now we’re pointing to maybe activating him on Friday, just getting him in there. He’s been hitting and running like we feel like he needs to.”
Snitker said before the trip that Kemp could play one or two minor league games in a brief rehab assignment before rejoining the big-league team, but Saturday he said that was no longer the plan.
After going through a full workout before Saturday’s game at Busch Stadium, Kemp was scheduled to rest Sunday and repeat Saturday’s workout Monday and Wednesday, when he’s with the team in Denver before he’s activated Friday for a series opener against the Reds at SunTrust Park.
“It’ll be good to get him back in there, just the whole presence, getting him back will be good for our lineup,” Snitker said. “He’s been hitting for a while now. Mainly it’s just, he’s been conditioning really well out here running the bases and everything. The day-in, day-out thing is a different animal than working out today, taking tomorrow off and then working out again. But like I say, he’s running good, everything’s pointing in the right direction.”
Despite the nagging leg issues, Kemp has hit .290 with 36 extra-base hits (14 home runs), 48 RBIs and a .336 on-base percentage and .813 OPS in 88 games. But he started the season on such a torrid pace that it appeared he would far surpass those numbers.
In his first 34 games through May 24 -- and despite a DL stint in the middle of that period -- Kemp hit .340 with 21 extra-base hits (eight homers), 27 RBIs, a .379 OBP and .579 slugging percentage.
In 54 games since, Kemp has hit .255 with 15 extra-base hits (six homers), 21 RBIs and a .306 OBP and .392 slugging percentage.
That’s a .976 OPS and 21 extra-base hits in his first 34 games and a .698 OPS with 15 extra-base hits in his past 54 games.
One thing he’s continued to do at a high rate is ground into double plays – his 22 GIDPs remains the major league leader.