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MATT KEMP STARTS REHAB AFTER SURGERY
Mon, 29 Oct 2012 10:41 AM EDT

Matt Kemp’s hopes for a simple surgery on his left shoulder were dashed when the Dodgers slugger awoke to learn things were worse than doctors had 1st thought.

Kemp was in Arizona to start rehabbing from the October 5 surgery that repaired a torn labrum and damages to the rotator cuff, injuries coming from a crash into the center field wall at Coors Field on Aug. 27.

”I was surely shocked and definitely disappointed,” he said by telephone in his 1st public comments since the surgery. ”I wish it might have just been a simple cleanup. It may take close to January before I can hit and do a lot of other things.”

Doctors have claimed Kemp should be ready by spring training. He has been biking and walking on a treadmill since the surgery, and will now step up his rehabilitation program.

Kemp missed 51 games earlier in the season with a strained left hamstring, and then chose to play through the shoulder pain to complete the season.

”I already asked the doctors if I could damage it any more than it was damaged and they revealed no, so I kept playing,” he announced. ”When they went in there, they were surprised I was still playing as it was worse than what they had thought.”

Kemp obviously was not the same player after hitting the wall. He was batting .337 before, when the Dodgers trailed San Francisco by 2 games in the National League West. Afterward, he hit .214 while the team stopped the season 9 games behind the Giants.

”As long as I do my rehab right, I should be in a position to be back to where I want to be,” he announced.

Kemp described the surgery as ”pretty scary,” the most serious procedure he’s had in his major league career. The 28-year-old right-handed hitter had hand surgery while in the minors.

”Any surgery can be scary when you have somebody cut on you,” he revealed. ”I got through it OK.”

Beforehand, Kemp spoke with teammates Adrian Gonzalez and Hanley Ramirez, who both underwent similar processes.

”Adrian expounded I could be good and feel better once the rehabilitation is over and I will get my strength back,” Kemp asserted.

Kemp isn’t the only Dodgers outfielder coming off surgery. Left fielder Carl Crawford, purchased from Boston in a 9-player trade on August 25, has had Tommy John and wrist surgeries, and he didn’t suit up after the trade. The Dodgers are optimistic he can return sometime in April.

Last season, Kemp said his goal was 50 home runs and 50 stolen bases. He finished with 23 and 9, and has reassessed his plans for next season. NFL betting lines

”Be healthy. That’s the main goal,” he said. ”If I’m healthy, then great things should happen.”

If Kemp isn’t prepared to start the season, the Dodgers could use Tony Gwynn Jr. in center field. They’ve also got Cuban defector Yasiel Puig, who finished last season at Class A Rancho Cucamonga and likely won’t be ready by Opening Day.


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