When the Los Angeles Dodgers acquired Matt Kemp in a five-player trade with the Atlanta Braves, it was widely presumed he would soon be on the move for a second time in the offseason. But the Dodgers were unable to find a taker, and opened Spring Training with Kemp still on the roster.
By all accounts he’s been a positive presence in the clubhouse and is said to be in the proverbial best shape of his life. On Friday, Kemp was in the lineup for the Dodgers’ Cactus League opener against the Chicago White Sox.
The game was Kemp’s first with the organization that originally drafted him, since the 2014 National League Division Series. He wasted little time in making an impact, pulling a leadoff single into left field in the second inning.
Then in the fourth, Kemp ripped a go-ahead, three-run home run. His homer was the Dodgers’ third of the game, with Justin Turner and Kiké Hernandez also clearing the fence in left field.
Although the Dodgers may still have visions of trading Kemp, he for now figures to factor into the competition for playing time in left field. Manager Dave Roberts said he also views Kemp as a candidate to provide an occasional off day for Yasiel Puig in right field.