Kemp's timing is off after offseason shoulder surgery

The SportsXchange

Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly knows what Matt Kemp needs: time.

"That's what we're going to keep giving him. We're going to keep giving him at-bats," Mattingly said of Kemp, who is returning from a left shoulder operation performed last October.

"Matt's coming off a pretty big surgery. He's behind as far as the hitting other guys have been able to do. He's behind as far as getting his rhythm and timing. ... For me, all Matt needs is at-bats."

After the surgery last fall, Kemp said the procedure was more serious than he realized. Doctors repaired a torn labrum as well as rotator cuff damage. He reported to spring training lighter than a year ago and said his shoulder was fully recovered.

However, Kemp started out hitless this spring in 15 at-bats (including three against Team Mexico that didn't count in Cactus League stats and another in a rainout) and admitted there is a mental hurdle he has to clear.

"I need to," Kemp said when asked if he had really cut loose with his swing yet. "I need to swing like I swing. Adrian (Gonzalez) told me the other day, 'Dude, you've just got to go out there and let it go. You did all the rehab. Now it's time to just go out there and let it go.'"

Gonzalez had a similar surgery two years ago.

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