The Dodger’s leader in the clubhouse and on the field is expected to make his Spring Training debut on Friday as reported by Kevin Baxter of the LA Times. Dodgers’ manager Don Mattingly said of Matt Kemp actually making his first appearance of 2013,
It depends on how he comes in in the morning. The morning usually tells us.
Mattingly assumedly is talking about injuries more generally than experience of this specific injury with Kemp, since Matt Kemp has never had to return from off season surgery to repair a torn labrum in his shoulder. He has been seeing live pitching this week, and supposedly has not felt any pain. If Matt Kemp is healthy and playing to potential, the Dodgers are a completely different team than otherwise.
Mattingly spilled the beans on the plan for Friday,
We’re going to give him a couple of at bats and he’s going to go home. [. . .] It’s not like we are running him out there and playing nine.
Kemp re-aggravated a hamstring injury last year coming back too soon, so I believe I speak for all Dodgers’ fans when I urge Mattingly and Kemp to not rush it. But there’s no need to get defensive Donny Baseball. Save it for the 162 games that matter.
Carl Crawford on the other hand has experienced some soreness in his forearms after hitting in the cage. Crawford is on his way back from elbow surgery. Given Crawford’s more serious predilection to injuries it is at least equally important for Crawford and the training staff to take it slowly. After all, Cuban youngster Yasiel Puig has impressed in Spring Training thus far.