MIAMI -- Matt Kemp's left hamstring ailment is not nearly as serious as the one that sidelined him for nearly two months in 2012. But having gone through that frustrating experience five years ago, the veteran outfielder conceded the Braves took appropriate caution on Tuesday, when they placed him on the 10-day disabled list, retroactive to Saturday.
"There were some times in 2012, when I was right about ready to come back, then the last sprint of testing it out, I thought everything was good and I actually made it worse," Kemp said. "I don't want to do that. I want to be smart with this because this is something you don't want to play with."
Given the benefit of the shorter 10-day DL this season, down from 15 days, as well as Thursday's scheduled off-day, the Braves quickly decided another week of rest would be best for Kemp after the outfielder tested his hamstring with some running drills on Tuesday afternoon at Marlins Park.
After going through the drills, Kemp wasn't fully confident his hamstring would react favorably if he was forced to go back to get a ball in the outfield. But providing a sign of encouragement, he still felt good enough to take batting practice before Tuesday night's game.
"I was expecting to play [on Tuesday], but then we went through some of the tests," Kemp said. "Everything is fine, but we just need to be safe. ... I've had hamstring problems before and sometimes when you think it's all the way gone, it's not. So, those five extra days can't kill me. I want to be out there, but I also want to play the rest of the season without any hamstring problems."
Kemp has been sidelined since exiting Friday's game in Pittsburgh with what was termed a tight left hamstring. As long as he doesn't experience any setbacks, he could be activated for the April 18 game against the Nationals at SunTrust Park. If he returns on that date, he would end up missing just eight games.
This would certainly be a better fate than the one Kemp experienced in 2012, when he was on the DL for two weeks in May with a strained left hamstring. He then aggravated the injury two days after being activated and ended up being sidelined again until the middle of July.
"We just don't need to take that chance," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "He was in a good spot. We're hoping when the DL stint is over, he'll be ready to go."
Kemp recorded eight hits, including four doubles and two home runs, through his first 16 at-bats this season. The Braves will likely use Emilio Bonifacio and Jace Peterson in left field while Kemp remains sidelined.
Infielder Johan Camargo was recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett to fill Kemp's roster spot. This promotion might have been given to either Dustin Peterson (hamate surgery) or Micah Johnson (fractured left wrist). But both of these outfielders are currently recovering from injuries suffered during Spring Training.