|Matt Kemp has Don Mattingly's blessing if he wants to participate in the Home Run Derby. (AP)|
"It's a long shot at this point because he's not healthy," general manager Ned Colletti said Monday before the opener of a three-game series at San Francisco.
The slugging center fielder is still recovering from a strained left hamstring that landed him on the disabled list for a second time this season May 31. The 2011 NL MVP runner-up first missed time from May 14-29.
Manager Don Mattingly is supportive if Kemp wants to participate in the Home Run Derby, as Los Angeles' medical staff has given him the go-ahead to do so.
Kemp said last week in Oakland he had discussed the Midsummer Classic with Mattingly and wants to make sure he is fully healthy for the second half with NL West-leading Los Angeles.
"You wouldn't expect anything else out of anybody else," Colletti said of Kemp's team-first focus. "We're talking about All-Star games and things like that, it's tough for us to look into the future when we don't even have a rehab game scheduled."
Mattingly hopes Kemp might begin a rehab assignment before the break, but the thinking is the Dodgers will want Kemp to return to playing big league games before clearing him to play in the All-Star Game -- and there isn't much time left for him to do both.
"I think he feels the same way," Mattingly said. "He's not ready to play yet."
Ideally, Kemp would play in five or six minor league games first. He leads the National League in votes, with his total at 3,322,009 in baseball's latest count. New NL numbers will be released Tuesday.
"As an organization, we're kind of the bad guy in this," Mattingly said. "That's the way it has to be."
Kemp, who predicted in spring training he might just become the first player to ever hit 50 home runs and steal 50 bases, is batting .355 with 12 home runs and 28 RBI in 36 games and has two stolen bases.
Mattingly left open the slim possibility of Kemp appearing in the All-Star Game July 10 at Kauffman Stadium if he has already returned to the Dodgers' lineup first.
"We talked about him playing for us before we get there, so if he's been able to do all that and play for us before the All-Star Game ... we're talking about all this guessing when he's going to be ready," Mattingly said. "It seems silly to me, honestly. He's not ready to play yet, he's still going through the process of running bases and running curves. We're talking about an All-Star Game, we're talking about practice."
Second baseman Mark Ellis, recovering from left leg surgery, also is close to going on a rehab assignment and is considered to be slightly ahead of Kemp, schedule-wise. He also is expected back in the lineup after the All-Star break.