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Dodgers' Kemp progressing, but return date and All-Star Game uncertain

By Scott Miller | Senior Baseball Columnist

Dodgers star Matt Kemp ran the bases during early work Friday, which is a big development as he works toward returning from a second stint on the disabled list with a pulled hamstring.

But there remains no timetable for his return, and whether he and the Dodgers will sign off on an All-Star Game appearance remains to be seen, too.

"We'll see," Kemp said regarding the All-Star Game. "We'll see."

No question, he wants to be in Kansas City for the July 10 game. But Friday's series opener against the Angels was the 33rd game he's missed of the Dodgers' first 70. As such, the Dodgers are making sure he's fully healthy before he returns this time. They're not taking any chances.

Plus, given all the time he's missed, manager Don Mattingly said Kemp will go out on a minor-league injury-rehabilitation assignment before he's able to rejoin the Dodgers.

"He's going to have to," Mattingly said.

Kemp is eligible to return from the DL any time. Mattingly was happy to see him out running around Friday afternoon.

"When a guy's progressing this strong, running curves, starting and stopping, he's close to going somewhere," Mattingly said.

The Dodgers, who had lost three in a row and six of their past nine games, will be thrilled to welcome Kemp back to the lineup. They've been hit with several injuries: Second baseman Mark Ellis (knee), starter Ted Lilly (shoulder) and relievers Javy Guerra (knee) and Matt Guerrier (elbow) all are disabled right now.

But Kemp, who is hitting .355 with 12 homers, 28 RBIs and a .444 on-base percentage, is the one man who can carry them.

"I'm hoping he's back in 10 days or so," infielder Jerry Hairston Jr. said. "I know he's been working hard so that when he's back, he's back to stay.

"That really kind of sent us into a tailspin. We've got to get better and get healthier for the second half."

Kemp was on the DL with the left hamstring strain from May 14-May 29 the first time. He came back and played in one full game, then re-injured his hamstring in the first inning of his second game back.

So now, as much as he wants to get back, he's on board with the program.

"It's cool," Kemp said. "I'm taking my time."

 
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