Dodgers slugger Matt Kemp is expected to play Friday for the first time since… (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles…)
PHOENIX — Matt Kemp is expected to play Friday for the first time since off-season surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder. But Carl Crawford, the Dodgers' other rehabbing All-Star outfielder, hit a bump in his comeback from reconstructive elbow surgery.
"It depends on how he comes in in the morning," Manager Don Mattingly said of Kemp's status. "The morning tells us usually. You may feel good at the end of the day, but the next morning you see how it's going."
Kemp has been hitting against live pitching this week and said he has been pain-free, but, Mattingly cautioned, "he's just getting started."
"It's not like we're running him out there and playing nine [innings]. We're going to give him a couple of at-bats and he's going to go home."
Crawford experienced soreness in his left forearm after swinging in the batting cages Thursday morning. The Dodgers, who believe Crawford probably aggravated the injury while throwing, had hoped he could play this weekend. That's unlikely now.
"We still look at it like we've got plenty of time before opening day. So we're going to be cautious with him," Mattingly said. "I don't know if it's a step back or just a pause a little bit for Carl."
More than 80 prospective players — including a former professional pitcher from Japan — performed for Dodgers scouts at an open tryout Thursday. And though many of them were better than Daniel "Doc" Jacobs, none are braver than the Iraq war veteran.
Jacobs, a former high school infielder who passed up offers to play in college to join the military, lost his leg below the knee and suffered serious hand and foot injuries when a improvised explosive device detonated beneath him in 2006. But at the invitation of Hall of Fame manager Tom Lasorda, the 27-year-old Jacobs tried out for the Dodgers anyway, then threw out the ceremonial first pitch before the team's Cactus League win over the Angels.
Thursday was Sandy Koufax's last day in camp and Clayton Kershaw was among those sorry to see him leave.
"He's great," Kershaw said of the Dodgers legend, who served as special spring-training instructor. "I have so much respect for him. And I just love talking to him. I hope we get to see him sometime in the future."