Sore Kemp sticking in Dodgers' lineup

Sore Kemp sticking in Dodgers' lineup

SAN FRANCISCO -- Matt Kemp deflects questions about lingering injuries from his collision with the Coors Field fence last month, but manager Don Mattingly hints that something's there.

"I'm sure he's feeling something," Mattingly said of his struggling center fielder, who hit .120 (3-for-25) after returning from the violent collision that also left him with a bone bruise above his knee and a bruised jaw.

"I know the [left] shoulder has been sore. He ran into it pretty good. I'm sure he's felt some soreness in different areas."

That said, Kemp didn't play in 399 consecutive games (a streak snapped by his May hamstring strain) by begging out of the lineup. And for purposes of giving the opposition something to think about, Mattingly would rather have Kemp at less than 100 percent than any other alternative.

"We don't want him out of the lineup unless he knows he can't really swing," Mattingly said. "I know he's felt some stingers in his shoulder. Maybe it weighs on him occasionally when he swings and misses. But for the most part, I thought he was swinging better the last two or three days. Better at-bats. It's a matter of swinging at strikes.

"With a lot of our guys in the middle of the order, they want to drive in runs, but they've got to swing at strikes. If you don't, you don't hit."