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If Matt Kemp goes on DL, there's no obvious answer to center field

May 30, 2013|By Steve Dilbeck
  • Matt Kemp makes a catch against the Angels.
Matt Kemp makes a catch against the Angels. (Harry How / Getty Images )

Let’s get ahead of ourselves for a moment. Just because.

Let’s say Matt Kemp’s hamstring strain, however severe, is enough to land him on the 15-day disabled list. Given his current struggles and the suspected weakness in his shoulder after surgery, it doesn’t sound like the worst idea.

But then what to the Dodgers do?

Truth is, they have no good options. No apparently good ones, anyway.

If Kemp was only going to be out a few days, they could try to get by with Skip Schumaker for a while, or even Andre Ethier.

“We wouldn’t try to play Shoe out there every day,” said Manager Don Mattingly. “If it’s a couple-day thing, then we can get through.”

But if Kemp lands on the DL, the Dodgers need someone who can play center field every day, and he’s not on the 25-man roster. And probably not the 40-man.

At triple-A Albuquerque, the center field choices are not exactly appealing: Matt Angle (.298 batting, .440 slugging), Tony Gwynn Jr. (.288, .360) and Elian Herrera (.304, .403). And only Herrera is on the 40-man roster (corrected).

At double-A Chattanooga, there is the heralded Yasiel Puig and Joc Pederson.

Puig has all the intrigue, the Cuban man-child who tore it up this spring (.517 batting, .828, 22, slugging) and became a camp sensation. But Puig has played only two games in center for Chattanooga, and the Dodgers are concerned about his maturity.

Pederson, 21, has been playing center for the Lookouts, and playing well, but unlike Puig, he is not on the 40-man. But the Dodgers could always move reliever Shawn Tolleson to the 60-man to create a spot.

Pederson is .313 for Chattanooga, with 15 steals, and .393 on-base and .516 slugging percentages. Puig is hitting .309 with 11 steals and .386/.590. Both have been impressive.

If Kemp does go on the DL, the call could go to Pederson. It’s a gamble, but at least an interesting one. There’s always the chance he could provide a spark, and it’s not like the Dodgers couldn’t use one.

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