Kemp eyeing Saturday return; Santana hits DL

August 18th, 2017

ATLANTA -- It appears Matt Kemp is ready to rejoin a Braves outfield mix that will not include Danny Santana over the next week.

Before Friday night's game against the Reds, the Braves announced Santana had been placed on the disabled list with a left quad strain and had been recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett. Another roster move will likely be made Saturday, when Kemp is expected to return from the right hamstring strain that has sidelined him since July 29.

Kemp completed running and agility drills before a pain-free batting practice Friday. Despite the fact the veteran outfielder has been sidelined for three weeks, it appears he will not appear in a Minor League rehab game before being activated.

"Unless he wakes up [Saturday] with something we're not expecting, it looks like all things are pointing to go right now," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "That's a pretty big presence in the lineup, it will mean a lot to get him back in there."

Kemp batted .327 with 11 home runs and a .922 OPS in the 55 games he played before tweaking his left hamstring during a June 14 game at Nationals Park. He missed just two starts, but was not placed on the disabled list. This decision appeared to prove costly as he hit just .221 with three home runs and a .614 OPS over the next 33 games he played before suffering the right hamstring strain during a July 28 game in Philadelphia.

With Kemp sidelined, the Braves took a gamble by utilizing Matt Adams as their primary left fielder over the past few weeks. Once Kemp returns, Adams will primarily serve as a pinch hitter.

Because the Braves did not want to challenge Adams by asking him to patrol Coors Field's spacious outfield this week, Santana served as the left fielder during the four-game series against the Rockies. He felt some discomfort in his left quad muscle during Thursday afternoon's series finale.

Santana served as a valuable bench piece throughout June and July. But he has hit just .129 (4-for-31) and compiled a .382 OPS in August.

Johnson has hit .321 and compiled an .840 OPS in 24 games with Gwinnett. Once a top prospect within the White Sox organization, the 26-year-old utility man went hitless in the only three at-bats he's had for Atlanta this year.