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Mattingly: 'Won't be long' before Kemp plays

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said Saturday that outfielder Matt Kemp is close to returning to game action.

"I think that's fair to say," Mattingly said when asked if Kemp's intensifying workouts were a sign that game action could soon follow.

Kemp, recovering from serious ankle surgery, has begun to run and make turns, although not yet on the bases. He also has resumed tracking fly balls in the outfield. He has been taking batting practice and throwing throughout Spring Training. He will start the season on the disabled list.

"We're seeing him take fly balls, getting jumps," said Mattingly. "He's swinging the bat good. It won't be long before he's in a game."

Mattingly, however, wouldn't say if the club will see Kemp in a game before the team flight to Australia on March 16.

"I don't put that kind of timetable on it," he said. "As long as he's moving forward."

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for
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