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Kemp to IL with broken rib: 'The wall won'

@m_sheldon
April 23, 2019

CINCINNATI -- Reds left fielder Matt Kemp knew something didn’t feel right after he collided with the outfield wall during the third inning on Sunday in San Diego. Kemp found out why after an X-ray revealed he had a broken left rib. He was placed on the 10-day injured list

CINCINNATI -- Reds left fielder Matt Kemp knew something didn’t feel right after he collided with the outfield wall during the third inning on Sunday in San Diego. Kemp found out why after an X-ray revealed he had a broken left rib. He was placed on the 10-day injured list on Tuesday.

To take Kemp’s place on the 25-man roster, Cincinnati recalled outfielder Phillip Ervin from Triple-A Louisville.

During the third inning of Sunday’s 4-3 loss to the Padres, Kemp was injured when he hit the wall hard trying to catch a drive off the bat of Wil Myers. The play went for a two-run double.

“It definitely felt like something was in there not working the way it should’ve been working,” Kemp said. “What was weird was the way I hit the wall, it was my right side, but I broke the left rib.”

Kemp, 34, remained in the game and batted in the top of the fourth inning. He struck out looking at a 3-2 fastball from Padres pitcher Joey Lucchesi and did not return for the bottom half of the inning.

“He did everything he could to make that play,” Reds manager David Bell said. “No wonder he had to come out of the game. He was in a lot of pain. He did everything he could to stay in there. Just a great effort.”

There was no immediate timetable for when Kemp could return to the lineup, but it is expected to be at least a few weeks.

Acquired from the Dodgers in a seven-player trade on December 21, Kemp is off to a poor start for Cincinnati. He is batting .200/.210/.493 with one home run and five RBIs while striking out in 19 of his 60 at-bats.

“The wall won. That’s what happened,” Kemp said. “It usually does every time I crash into it. The wall is undefeated, for sure.”

Bell plans to use Ervin

In Tuesday’s three-game series opener vs. the Braves, Bell started his other regular outfielders in Yasiel Puig, Jesse Winker and Scott Schebler. But he doesn’t expect Ervin to be idle on the bench very often.

“It’s really important for us as a team to get him included, everyone engaged,” Bell said. “We’re going to need everyone. It is going to be a day-to-day thing. We need Phillip Ervin. We want him to be part of this. We’re going to look at opportunities to get him playing time. I know I’ve said it before, but if you have four outfielders, there’s no reason you can’t get all of them playing time and find spots for them to have success.”

Tuesday’s callup marked Ervin’s eighth big league stint and second of this season. He was previously called up as the 26th man during the Mexico Series vs. the Cardinals on April 13-14. Ervin was 1-for-2 with a triple and a run scored.

Ervin, 26, led the Reds with five home runs during Spring Training while batting .341, but he was cut from the spring roster on March 22. In 12 games for Louisville this season, he was batting .224/.291/.286 with no homers and two RBIs.

“I’m excited to get back and see what I can do,” Ervin said. “I was trying to take what I’ve been working on and put it into the game. Everything started to click for a while.”

Travelin’ men

The Reds’ three-game series vs. the Braves is also the length of the homestand. Since April 4, the team is on a stretch of playing 13 of 16 games on the road (including two as the “home team” in Monterrey) and 20 of 26 games away from Great American Ball Park.

Following a seven-game road trip to St. Louis and New York, the Reds will have a four-game homestand against the Giants before going on a six-game West Coast trip to Oakland and San Francisco.

“It’s one of the challenges of this game that all teams deal with at some point,” Bell said. “It’s great to be here in Cincinnati. It doesn’t feel like we’ve been here a lot. We’ll make the most of these three days. Every challenge that comes up with the team, it’s just an opportunity to get better.”

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook.