Ken Gurnick reports that Matt Kemp is ahead of schedule in his recovery from offseason shoulder surgery, and that Kemp expects to be ready for Opening Day. Kemp has reported still feeling soreness in the shoulder he injured after crashing into the outfield wall in Colorado on consecutive days:
“That’s my goal,” said Kemp. “I’m hitting off the tee, no soft toss yet. I have my good days and bad days. It’s still a little sore. But being ready for the season is all that matters.”
This is the downside to players wanting to play through severe injuries and teams allowing them to. Last year’s playoff push was not more important than the next decade or so of Kemp’s career, and the Dodgers letting him play was a terrible idea even at the time.
“I couldn’t shut it down,” Kemp said. “They told me to shut it down and think about surgery — or at least rest. But I just couldn’t do it. I had to continue and play. That’s what I do. I can’t sit and watch.”
Players obviously always want to be on the field, but that’s why coaches and trainers exist.
Scott Elbert underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left elbow Wednesday, the second such surgery he’s had on the elbow this offseason. Elbert will be able to resume throwing in six weeks, and his availability for Opening Day is not a certainty.
This figures to open the door for J.P. Howell, Paco Rodriguez, and Ted Lilly, if they weren’t already ahead to begin with.