Adrian Gonzalez’s admission has meaning for Matt Kemp

The strange thing about the reaction to Adrian Gonzalez’s acknowledgment (to Bill Shaikin of the Times) that he won’t have the same power as he did before undergoing labrum surgery in the 2010-11 offseason is that no one has followed that with the obvious connection to Matt Kemp.

“I can still hit home runs. That is not going to be an issue. The full power is not the same,” said Gonzalez, who had surgery to repair his labrum before the 2011 season, in acknowledging he would be more of an average and doubles hitter going forward.

In October, Dylan Hernandez of the Times did link Gonzalez with Kemp — who had labrum surgery last winter — but nevertheless, people seem to remain surprised that Kemp is having power issues at the start of this season. In 2011, Gonzalez hit one home run in April — the same as Kemp this year.

Gonzalez finished 2011 with 27 home runs, before hitting 18 in 2012. He has three this season, though he is slugging .500 thanks to seven doubles.

The potential effect of labrum injuries on sluggers is nothing new. Ten years ago, I noted on Dodger Thoughts the effect that Shawn Green’s surgery would likely have on his career in this piece, “The Shawn Green of Old Will Not Return.” Green actually fared better than the title predicted, hitting 28 home runs in 2004, though 18 of those came after the All-Star Break. He hit 47 more home runs the rest of his career.

What the long-term effects of Kemp’s injury will be, I don’t know. Perhaps he’ll kick the home-run power into gear starting tonight. But we can’t be surprised if his four-bagger forays take time to resurrect.

  • Anonymous

    Seems to me we have 50 times more injuries than we had 40 or 50 years ago. Lots of reasons for that, better ability to detect injuries, more desire, especially on the players part, to not hurt themselves further by continuing to play with “small” injuries, and just different attitudes altogether in both players and management. There seems to be a real rash of injuries to pitchers lately. That makes me question the wisdom of wholesale investment in $20M to $25M a year pitchers who are almost guaranteed to get hurt long before their contract runs out, I think the money might better be spent in upgrading the whole pitching staff with younger players, none of whom make more than $10M or $12M. When they get pricier, kiss them goodbye and replace them with younger, cheaper, healthier pitchers. Same philosophy on power hitters, two 20 homer outfielders would cost as much as one 40 homer guy. Another crazy idea…

    • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

      “Seems to me we have 50 times more injuries than we had 40 or 50 years ago.”

      The premise is faulty to begin with, and faulty even if you reduce it by a factor of 10, or 25, or I’m guessing 50.

      Beyond that, who are all these cheap, young, talented, available pitchers and outfielders that you are suggesting the Dodgers get?

  • Anonymous

    Jon: In response to your question about injuries at the end of the last post, “What is it you imagine the trainers aren’t doing?” I don’t imagine anything about the trainers. I simply don’t know the regimen, and how it compares to other training staffs.

    • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

      Fair enough. Well, I imagine it compares favorably.

      • Anonymous

        You may well be right….By the way, I think that your posts have been excellent during this latest traumatic period for the Dodgers. But, then, I think you always do a superb job with Dodgerthoughts. It is the only blog dealing with the Dodgers that I read and post on.

    • Anonymous

      So you’re essentially accusing the trainers of negligence and/or malpractice?

      The Yankees have 10 players on the DL right now. The Dodgers just have 8 at the moment.

      If there were some magical formula to keep athlete’s healthy all the time, the inventor would make a lot of money. Or possibly be in violation of Federal law. Take your pick.

      • Anonymous

        Wow. So I am now accused of “essentially accusing the trainers of negligence and/or malpractice”? Not at all. I am simply raising some issues and asking some questions.

  • Anonymous

    another thought (I have too much time on my hands)… Punto and Hairston seem to be good bench players, keep them if you like. Cruz is an excellent glove man at third or short, keep him or Uribe for defensive purposes if you want but that means Sellers has to go. Fedex is a 10 to 1 choice over Hernandez in all respects. Castellanos plays the same positions as Schumaker, and better, and hits with more power. And SVS can relieve Adrian as necessary and play the outfield too. So there’s my bench: Punto, Hairston, Fedex, Castellanos, SVS, and Uribe if you want to give up one of these guys for him. I wouldn’t.

  • Anonymous

    Seems as though the Dodgers have some young talent but won’t bring them up. Why does everyone keep saying that they will be up in a year or two. I thought the fans and players would want to win now.

  • Anonymous

    We got one season of Kemp at his full potential and paid him $160M for it. Now, it appears we’ll only have a shadow of him. Kemp has always struck me as a premier athlete who happens to play baseball and whose ceiling will be determined by the athleticism gap he enjoys over his peers. He was going to show signs of physical limitations eventually, but I’m now depressed that the time has come sooner rather than later.

  • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

    NPUT

  • Anonymous

    Oh well. We’ll always have 2011!

  • http://www.facebook.com/john.sertich.5 John Sertich

    Steroids had a lot more influence in 2008 than they do now. Shawn Green, while not necessarily linked to steroids, would have had a much less scrutinized path to a speedy recovery before today’s testing methods were introduced.

  • Anonymous

    Oh man, I’m a Giants fan who works in politics. I just violated two or three of your “Dodger Thoughts, Thank You For Not…” guidelines. Still, I had to post. I am not sure how much talent is in the Dodger farm system. It was once the class of the league. I don’t think that’s the case any longer. I don’t follow the Dodger farm teams as closely as I follow the Giants farm teams. What I can tell you is that I’ve been around long enough to understand that the Giants have stolen a page from the Dodger book of building team dynasties. Look at that Giants pitching staff. Look at the infielders. Look at the catcher. You will quickly come to the conclusion that we “grew our own.” I watched the Dodger teams of the 70′s destroy the Giants day after day, year after year. The result was always the same. Your farm system was better. You brought up better players. You made us pay for fielding inferior teams. The shoe is clearly on the other foot now, and may stay there for another 5-10 years. The new ownership group needs to strongly resist the clarion call of that shiny bauble, and instead focus on what made the Dodgers great through the 1980′s: A strong farm system that produced star after star after star.