3/1/2013 5:16 P.M. ET
Kemp pleased despite going hitless in spring debut
By Ken Gurnick / MLB.com
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Matt Kemp went 0-for-2 in his Cactus League debut Friday, but declared it a success anyway.
"Good to get it out of the way," said Kemp, returning to game action less than five months after surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder. "I was excited. I felt a little jumpy, just like any first Spring Training game. But I'm just happy to be back on the field."
So are the Dodgers, who earlier in the day revealed that outfielder Carl Crawford would be shut down for a week with lingering effects of August Tommy John elbow surgery.
Kemp, though, hasn't had a recent setback and is on track for Opening Day.
"I swung and fouled a changeup. Last year, that would have made my left shoulder hurt," he said. "I didn't hurt today. That's a really good sign that my shoulder is well and responding to the rehab."
Kemp -- easing back into action as the designated hitter against San Diego and starter Freddy Garcia -- battled back from an 0-2 count in the first inning to ground to third base. In his third-inning at-bat, he took a called strike three with runners on first and third.
"That last at-bat, I wish I had gotten some ribbies or something. You never like to strike out," he said. "But it's only the second at-bat, so I'm not panicking."
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.