LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers expect Matt Kemp to return from the disabled list on the first day he is eligible on July 21, which would give manager Don Mattingly a crowded outfield, with four options for three spots.
Kemp, Carl Crawford, Andre Ethier and Yasiel Puig were all healthy for just one game together last week in San Francisco. Kemp irritated the AC joint in his left shoulder on a swing in his first at-bat on July 5, and left the game after two innings. Kemp hasn't played since and went on the DL last Monday.
But the Dodgers expect Kemp to return to the outfield mix on the final game of a three-game series against the Nationals.
"I'm assuming he's going to be ready," manager Don Mattingly said on Sunday.
Mattingly said he would prefer to have a decision to make in the outfield each game.
"I like the problem of the four guys, honestly," Mattingly said. "It gives me a lot of different combinations of guys to play. I can keep some guys rested. I'd rather have a full compliment and deal with that."
Crawford has been out of the lineup for five straight games with a sore lower back, and has battled hamstring issues this season. Puig is nursing a sore left hip. Kemp would be coming off his second DL stint of the season, after missing 24 games with a strained right hamstring. So Mattingly could use a crowded outfield as an advantage.
As for Kemp, he's scheduled to start swinging a bat next week and could go on a brief Minor League rehab assignment after the All-Star break.
"I would think we would want him to play something," Mattingly said. "He probably should. I would think a few games would be good from our standpoint to make sure that he's healthy."
Austin Laymance is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.