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Dodgers' Matt Kemp feels fortunate after crash into fence

DODGERS NOTES

Outfielder suffers only a bruised knee in a hard collision with the center field wall at Colorado on Tuesday and says he feels 'pretty blessed.' His status is day to day.

August 29, 2012|By Dylan Hernandez

DENVER — Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp was out of the lineup but back in the clubhouse Wednesday, visibly relieved that his head-on collision with the center field wall at Coors Field didn't result in more serious injuries.

An MRI exam on his left knee showed nothing more than bruising. A CT scan on his jaw came back clean.

"It could have been way worse, so I'm definitely lucky," Kemp said. "I feel pretty blessed."

Saying his entire body felt sore from the first-inning crash Tuesday, Kemp was unsure of when he would play again.

"I just know that my knee … it's sore right now," he said. "Hopefully, just a day. We'll see how everything goes."

Kemp often laughed as he recalled the collision, which came as a result of his pursuing a would-be triple by Josh Rutledge.

"Now I know how football players feel, when the wide receivers come up the middle and get hit and not know," he said.

On the bright side, Kemp noted, "Hey, I made it on ESPN. That's going to be 'Not Top 10 Plays.' "

As Kemp spoke to reporters, Hanley Ramirez came by, embraced him and whispered something in his ear. Ramirez went from his position at shortstop to the warning track in center field when Kemp was down.

"I scared my mama," Kemp said.

Kemp remained in the game for two more plays. Both times, the ball was hit to him.

"The crazy thing is, right after I do that, I'm thinking to myself, 'Please, don't hit the ball to me,' " he said. "And then two times in a row."

Kemp also crashed into the wall in the series opener Monday night.

"I survived the first day," he said. "The second day, the wall got me. So we're tied. Hopefully, we don't have to fight any more. We just stay tied."

But Kemp doesn't plan to change his all-out style of play.

"Not at all," he said. "I just play the game."

He also rejected the idea that he should move to a corner outfield position, where his body might take less of a pounding.

"I'm a center fielder, man," he said.

Manager Don Mattingly doesn't view a position change as necessary.

"I don't think you can protect guys from playing the game," Mattingly said. "If it makes sense at some point in his career, then I think that's what you do. But right now, it doesn't seem to make sense."

Scott Elbert is put on the DL

Left-hander Scott Elbert was put on the 15-day disabled list because of an elbow problem that will probably require surgery in the off-season. Shawn Tolleson was recalled from Class-A Rancho Cucamonga to take Elbert's place.

Elbert, who has a 2.20 earned-run average in 43 appearances, is expected to pitch again this season.

Elbert's injury leaves Randy Choate as the only left-hander in the bullpen.

Yasiel Puig to play in Arizona Fall League

Cuban outfielder Yasiel Puig is scheduled to play in the Arizona Fall League, a finishing school for baseball's top prospects. Puig will play for the Mesa Solar Sox.

Puig, 21, was signed by the Dodgers to a seven-year, $42-million contract in late June.

Because he was suspended from Cuba's top league before his defection, Puig hadn't played organized baseball in more than a year when he came to the United States. But Puig dominated the rookie league in Arizona, earning a quick promotion to Rancho Cucamonga.

Through Tuesday, Puig was batting .386 with a home run and four runs batted in for Rancho Cucamonga. He had an on-base percentage of .471 and was slugging .500.

dylan.hernandez@latimes.com

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