TORONTO — Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp is expected to miss the three-game series against the Blue Jays after spraining his left ankle.
Out of the lineup for 11 games with a sore left shoulder, Kemp came off the 15-day disabled list 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.
Kemp is expected to have X-rays on Monday night, but the team believes he does not have either a fracture or ligament damage.
Manager Don Mattingly said Monday he was less optimistic that Kemp would avoid a return to the DL. He said the team hoped to have a clearer picture of Kemp’s status Tuesday.
“I’m probably not feeling as good about it as I did yesterday,” Mattingly said. “It could go the wrong direction. Either this thing’s going to get (better) and we’ll know pretty quickly or it’s going to be a little more severe.”
Mattingly said Kemp came to the stadium at noon Monday and spent the afternoon undergoing treatment. He was expected to do the same Tuesday.
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 this season.
Kemp walked in the ninth Sunday and was on third with two outs when Carl Crawford hit a slow roller toward first. It would have been an infield hit had Kemp hustled home. Instead, he jogged and allowed the Nationals to make a play at the plate. He was hurt sliding into the catcher.
Mattingly said he saw no need to speak to Kemp about not running hard.
“There’s no reason,” he said. “Once that happens to a guy, they understand right away.”
Sunday’s game marked the first time that Kemp, Hanley Ramirez and Crawford had appeared together in the starting lineup this season.
Rookie Yasiel Puig started in center against Toronto on Monday, with Andre Ethier getting the night off. Mattingly said Ethier would return to center on Tuesday.
“Luckily we’re in the American League (ballpark) where it’s not quite the same, you don’t need all the extra players,” Mattingly said. “We feel like we can kind of get by. Anytime you play without him you’re going to play short, but with the DH you don’t worry about it quite as much.”
The Dodgers, who have won 20 of their last 25, begin a four-game series at Cincinnati on Thursday.