By sitting out the game, Kemp's consecutive games-played streak, the longest among active players, was snapped at 399. He last missed a game Aug. 18, 2009. The Tigers' Prince Fielder is the new active leader with 216 consecutive games, followed by the Reds' Joey Votto (161), Boston's Dustin Pedroia (135) and the Mariners' Ichiro Suzuki (135).
"They had to talk me into it a little bit," said Kemp, who has a mild strain of the left hamstring. "I was going crazy today watching my teammates play."
The only other time Kemp was disabled was in 2007, when he suffered a slight shoulder separation running into the new out-of-town scoreboard in right field.
Struggling Jerry Sands was called up from Triple-A Albuquerque to replace Kemp on the roster.
"I'm very disappointed," Kemp said. "Hamstrings are a little bit iffy. I'll take the time and hope to get back to running fast. I like to play every day. But I've got to play at 100 percent to be effective."
He admitted he's been playing at half-speed since injuring the leg last Saturday in Chicago. He reinjured it trying to leg out a ground ball Sunday and was removed from the game.
"I've been a little scared to do certain things," he said. "I felt it in there a little bit. I just wanted to help my team any way possible, but I was babying it a little. I came to that realization."
Manager Don Mattingly said the decision was made before Monday night's game. But with Juan Uribe sent to the DL and his replacement, Elian Herrera, in transit, the shorthanded Dodgers kept Kemp active.
"It's the right thing to do," Mattingly said of the roster move. "We found out Matt wasn't giving us the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so we did this to protect him from himself. He wants to play and we want that, but we have to be sure this doesn't turn into a long-term injury. We've got to get this healed up so it doesn't last all year long.
"I think he was OK when he came to the realization. We're not going to replace Matt. We won't be as good a club with Matt not there, but we need to be able to sustain in the short term."
Mattingly said Tony Gwynn will be Kemp's primary replacement in center field, but Andre Ethier also might get a few starts in center with Sands playing right. Ethier said Mattingly asked if he could play center field.
"He must not remember the All-Star Game two years ago [which Ethier started in center field]," he said. "I can do it. Just go out and take charge and read the ball and track it down and catch it. I'm not saying it's easy, but it's certainly something I'm willing to undertake.
"We know there will be a hole left without Matt in the lineup, but you can't sit there and sulk about it. For two weeks when he's out we hope we can get on a good streak until he comes back full strength."
Sands was hitting .257 and ranked second on Albuquerque with seven home runs while leading the Isotopes in RBIs (28) and runs scored (27). The 24-year-old had five hits (5-for-7) with three homers and four RBIs in his last two games prior to his callup. Sands made his Major League debut in 2011 and hit .253 with four homers and 26 RBIs in 61 games for Los Angeles last year.