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Dodgers activate Matt Kemp from DL for home opener

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The Dodgers today announced the activation of Matt Kemp from the disabled list, just hours before the home opener.

Not in the starting lineup at the start of the day, Kemp replaced Yasiel Puig who was scratched after a late arrival. It marks his first appearance since September 27th of the injury-plagued 2013 season.

In 73 games in 2013, Kemp hit .270 with 6 homers and 33 runs batted in.

The Dodgers hope Kemp will add offensive depth to the lineup of the defending National League Western Division champs.

The 29-year old is among the Los Angeles franchise leaders in several categories, ranking 6th in batting average, 5th in slugging percentage, and 8th in home runs.

His finest season came in 2011 when he finished second in NL MVP voting and fell one home run shy of becoming the fifth player in MLB history with at least 40 homers and 40 stolen bases.

To make room for the two-time All Star, Los Angeles optioned outfielder Mike Baxter to Triple-A Albuquerque. Baxter, 29, appeared in four of the Dodgers’ five games this season.

Scroll down for a look at Kemp's career.

Do you love the Dodgers? If so, you'll want to follow the Dodgers on Facebook, where you can see pictures and share your thoughts with other fans.

The article’s author, Jim Smiley welcomes your email feedback. Read more about Jim in part one and part two of an exclusive interview about his baseball experience.

By age 21, Kemp was a Major Leaguer
By age 21, Kemp was a Major Leaguer Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

By age 21, Kemp was a Major Leaguer

A multi-talented player, Kemp seemed to have a high ceiling.

Two years after his 2006 debut, he was an everyday player.

In 2008 Kemp hit .290 and scored 93 runs in 155 games and was on his way to becoming an All Star. 

In 2009, Kemp earned his first Silver Slugger Award
In 2009, Kemp earned his first Silver Slugger Award Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

In 2009, Kemp earned his first Silver Slugger Award

A breakout season in 2009 saw Kemp drive in 100 runs for the first time in his career.

He and teammate Andre Ethier was Silver Slugger Awards the same year.

Fifty-seven of Kemp's 180 hits went for extra bases. He hit .297 and finished tenth in the MVP balloting. 

Kemp's trophy case includes Gold Glove Awards
Kemp's trophy case includes Gold Glove Awards Denis Poroy/Getty Images

Kemp's trophy case includes Gold Glove Awards

Not just an offensive threat, Kemp won the first of his two Gold Glove Awards in 2009.

The center fielder was known for his range and strong arm. 

He also received the award in 2011. A healthy Kemp helps the Dodger defense up the middle.

From 2008-2011,Kemp tallied 128 stolen bases
From 2008-2011,Kemp tallied 128 stolen bases Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

From 2008-2011,Kemp tallied 128 stolen bases

That rare combination of power and speed was on display during the four-year run in which he also averaged more than 27 home runs.

In 2011, Kemp became the second Dodger to record at least 30 homers and 30 steals in the same season.

Raul Mondesi accomplished the feat in 1997 and 1999.

Kemp was all smiles when he received more hardware in 2011
Kemp was all smiles when he received more hardware in 2011 Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Kemp was all smiles when he received more hardware in 2011

The Hank Aaron award is given each year to the National League's most outstanding offensive performer.

Kemp earned the honor after he totaled an NL-best 39 homers and 126 RBI in 2011.

The "Bison" hit .324 and led the senior circuit with 115 runs scored. 

 

A shoulder injury put Kemp on the DL for the first time
A shoulder injury put Kemp on the DL for the first time Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

A shoulder injury put Kemp on the DL for the first time

From August 2009 through mid-May 2012, Kemp played in 399 consecutive games -- an MLB-high at the time -- before going on the DL.

Since, he's suffered through two injury-plagued seasons.

Kemp believes his shoulder is healthy for the first time in two years.

An ankle injury put Kemp on crutches the same season
An ankle injury put Kemp on crutches the same season Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

An ankle injury put Kemp on crutches the same season

The injury necessitated off-season surgery.

Kemp rehabbed in Spring Training but was not ready for 2014's opening series in Australia.

Today's activation coincides with the Los Angeles Home Opener.

A healthy Kemp can still carry a team on his shoulders
A healthy Kemp can still carry a team on his shoulders Christian Petersen/Getty Images

A healthy Kemp can still carry a team on his shoulders

If Kemp can perform anywhere near the levels of his last healthy season, the Dodgers could make a deep post-season run. 

For now, Kemp is ready to make his 2014 debut.

The sold out home opener is the perfect place for his return.

 

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