ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — The Los Angeles Dodgers placed slumping All-Star center fielder Matt Kemp on the 15-day disabled list Thursday because of a right hamstring strain.
The move was made before the team completed a string of four consecutive games against the Angels. Kemp was injured while running down a double in right-center by Mike Trout in the Dodgers’ 4-3 loss Wednesday night.
It was the fourth time in Kemp’s career that the two-time Gold Glove winner has been on the DL, including two stints last season because of a left hamstring strain that cost him a combined 51 games. The Dodgers were 24-27 in his absences.
“It’s not bad luck. It’s life,” Kemp said. “I never want to be away from the game, but I have to at the moment. It comes with the territory, but it’s disappointing.”
Kemp, who just two seasons ago finished runner-up to Milwaukee’s Ryan Braun in the NL MVP voting after hitting a career-high 39 home runs with 126 RBIs and a .324 average, is batting .251 this season with two homers and 17 RBIs in 51 games, and has struck out 60 times in 191 at-bats following offseason shoulder surgery. In his last six games, he is 1 for 17 with 10 strikeouts.
The Dodgers recalled catcher Tim Federowicz from Triple-A Albuquerque to take Kemp’s place on the roster.
Right fielder Andre Ethier was moved to center field in manager Don Mattingly’s starting lineup, the 49th he has used in 53 games.
“The whole year we’ve been figuring a way to patch up things when we get guys hurt,” Ethier said. “Donnie asked me, and I said: ‘Sure, let’s do it.’ I’d be lying if I said it didn’t cross my mind last night because I wasn’t sure what the (extent) of Matt’s injury was, and whether it was going to take a couple of days or longer. But it’s a different story when you actually see your name in there”.
It was only the second time in his eight-year career that he started in center. The other time was May 15, 2012, when he had four putouts in a 5-1 loss to Arizona at Dodger Stadium. Ethier’s first big league game as a center fielder was in the 2010 All-Star game, which took place at Angel Stadium.
“It’s kind of ironic that it’s here,” Ethier said. “That time it was an All-Star game, so there had to be a center fielder on that team. I don’t know how I ended up playing there — but at the same time, it was fun. I knew I had center field in me all the time, and it took an All-Star game for me to finally get it.”
Also, right-hander Stephen Fife was activated from the 15-day DL and optioned back to Albuquerque.