TORONTO — After a brief stint of being healthy, Matt Kemp is heading back to the disabled list for the third time this season.
The Los Angeles Dodgers placed Kemp on the 15-day DL Wednesday with a sprained left ankle and activated left-hander Ted Lilly.
Out of the lineup for 11 games with a sore left shoulder, Kemp came off the DL before Sunday’s 9-2 win over the Washington Nationals. He went 3 for 4 with a home run, but limped off the field after sliding into home plate on a force play in the ninth inning and has not played since.
“That thing just didn’t go anywhere for us,” manager Don Mattingly said of Kemp’s sore ankle. “We were hoping over 48 hours it would get a lot better. It hasn’t.”
Mattingly said Kemp did not fight the decision to return to the DL.
“Matt knew once it didn’t go anywhere for him that we had to do this,” he said.
Kemp’s DL stint is backdated to July 22, meaning he’s eligible to return August 6, but Mattingly said Kemp might need more time.
“After listening to (Dodgers medical director Stan Conte), he wasn’t 100 percent sure,” Mattingly said. “I think we’re hopeful of that. We’ll see.”
Kemp missed 24 games in May and June with a sore right hamstring. A two-time All-Star, two-time Gold Glove winner and two-time Silver Slugger, he’s batting .263 with five homers and 27 RBIs in 62 games.
The Dodgers were in last place and 12 games under .500 on June 21. Since then they’re a major league-best 22-5 and now sit first in the NL West.
“It’s never easy to have to take that guy out of your lineup,” Mattingly said. “We’ve been without him for a while and we’ve been OK. We feel like we’re better with him.”
Lilly is 0-2 with a 5.09 ERA in five starts this season, but has missed the past 42 games with a sore neck. He was also sidelined for 19 games in March and April while recovering from shoulder surgery, and later missed 17 games in April and May with a right ribcage strain.
Mattingly said Lilly will pitch out of the bullpen.