The Atlanta Braves received good news on Thursday when outfielder Matt Kemp received clearance to return to the diamond and be activated off the disabled list. With his activation, Kemp slides back into left field and will hit in the clean up spot tonight against the Washington Nationals.
Kemp missed the past 10 games with a hamstring strain he suffered on April 7 that led the team to promptly place him on the 10-day disabled list. The team never considered it a significant injury and that is clearly shown by his return after the minimum amount of time missed. Before his injury, the 32-year-old left fielder had eight hits in 16 at bats, four of which were doubles and two were home runs.
Kemp's return is an added boost for a lineup that ranked 16th in baseball in wRC+ (99) and 10th in OPS to kick off the season. With the early success of Ender Inciarte and Freddie Freeman this season, the Braves now have three strong performers in the top of the order who they can rely on in different categories. With Inciarte getting on base and stealing bases and Freeman the 'do it all' bat, Kemp now steps in behind them to unload the bases and rack up RBIs.
The next step for Atlanta will just be working with Dansby Swanson and hoping the rookie soon busts out of the slump that currently leaves him with a .131 batting average on the year.