"It's been six weeks since this guy has played two nine-inning games of Major League intensity," manager Don Mattingly said.
Mattingly said Kemp wanted to play and added the center fielder fought him on the decision.
He said Kemp feels good and giving him the rest for the afternoon game was part of the plan like it was for Mark Ellis when the second baseman returned from leg surgery.
"I think he's fine," Mattingly said. "I think he's a little cautious honestly, which is kind of natural. I think it's going to take him a little bit of time until he feels he can forget about it. He's obviously swinging that bat good."
Kemp was 5-for-9 with a double in his first two games since being activated from the disabled list.