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Dodgers' Matt Kemp: 'I feel great'

July 10, 2012|By Bill Shaikin
  • Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp takes part in the All-Star Game home run derby in Kansas City on Monday.
Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp takes part in the All-Star Game home run… (Dilip Vishwanat / Getty…)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Matt Kemp put on his All-Star batting practice jersey, getting ready for the last game he plans on watching for some time.

Kemp has not played since May 30 because of a strained left hamstring and has not hit a home run since April 30. He still leads the Dodgers in home runs.

"I'm excited to get back," Kemp said. "I've been a cheerleader for the past month and a half."

The Dodgers plan to activate him from the disabled list on Friday. Andre Ethier (strained oblique) is scheduled to play minor league rehabilitation games Wednesday and Thursday and could be activated Friday as well.

Kemp has 12 home runs, and Ethier is second with 10. The Dodgers and San Francisco Giants are tied for last in the majors with 51 home runs each; the Dodgers lead the Giants by one-half game in the National League West.

"I feel like we're a better team," Kemp said. "I feel like we're hard to beat when we're playing well. We've got a chance to do some great things if we stay healthy."

Kemp said he enjoyed participating in the home run derby on Monday, even though he failed to get out of the first round for the second consecutive year. He said he did not know if he would try the derby again.

"I haven't been too good the first two times," he said. "Maybe I'm just good at hitting home runs during games."

He said his hamstring has healed -- "I feel great right now," he said -- and brushed aside suggestions that the Dodgers should have forbidden him from participating in the derby so long as he was on the disabled list.

"I wasn't worried about what people were saying," Kemp said. "I've been taking batting practice for the past month. It's nothing different than the home run derby.

"They can't complain about it too much. I didn't last too long. I wasn't really breaking a sweat out there."

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