Hamstring forces Matt Kemp to DL

Updated: May 15, 2012, 4:01 PM ET
By Tony Jackson | ESPNLosAngeles.com

LOS ANGELES -- Los Angeles Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp was placed on the 15-day disabled list following the team's 3-1 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Monday night, a move club officials had decided to make before the game.

Kemp underwent an MRI exam earlier in the day that showed a strain in his left hamstring, which had been bothering him for more than a week.

The club recalled outfielder-first baseman Jerry Sands from Triple-A Albuquerque to fill Kemp's roster spot.

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly told the media before the game that Kemp was available to pinch hit, but Mattingly said after the game that Kemp wasn't, in fact, available, meaning the Dodgers simply had been hoping to keep the Diamondbacks in the dark about Kemp's status. By not appearing in the game, Kemp ended his consecutive-games streak, which had been the longest in the majors, at 399 games.

For now, the injury isn't expected to sideline Kemp longer than 15 days. He will be eligible to return on May 29 against the Milwaukee Brewers.

"They had to talk me into it a little bit,'' said Kemp, whose only previous DL stint came in April 2007. "It's hard to sit out 15 days. I was going crazy watching (this game). But we have a bunch of good guys on this team. They will continue to play well. When I come back, I will help them any way I can to help us win.''

Kemp had said publicly following Sunday's game, which he left after the third inning when the hamstring flared up, that he "definitely'' wasn't going on the DL. But after meeting with team physician Dr. Neal ElAttrache following the MRI, Kemp eventually became convinced that this was the right course of action.

"It's a mild strain," Mattingly said. "But Doc told him if he did it again, it would go from a Grade 1 to a Grade 2. ... That was the thing Doc said to Matt before the game, that we need to get this healthy and let it heal up and not let it be a problem all year.''

The development came at the end of a day in which the Dodgers already had lost their primary third baseman, Juan Uribe, to the disabled list with continued soreness in his left wrist, meaning Mattingly will have to do a lot of mixing and matching over the next couple of weeks with what is undeniably a depleted roster.

Mattingly said Tony Gwynn Jr. will get the bulk of the starts in center field, but that right fielder Andre Ethier, who has never played center during the regular season in the majors but did play there at Arizona State University and also started there for the National League in the 2010 All-Star Game -- also could get a couple of starts there if Mattingly wants to insert Sands into right field.

Elian Herrera, who was promoted from Albuquerque earlier in the day to take Uribe's spot, also could see time in center.

Tony Jackson

ESPNLosAngeles.com

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