Every time the Los Angeles Dodgers appear to be getting healthy, another injury seems to strike the talented roster.
The Dodgers hope the latest setback to Matt Kemp's season isn't serious as they begin a three-game series with the slumping Toronto Blue Jays.
Los Angeles has been hit hard by injury this year, especially in the outfield, where Kemp and Carl Crawford have spent time on the disabled list along with infielder Hanley Ramirez and pitchers Josh Beckett, Zack Greinke and Chad Billingsley.
Though the loss of Kemp and Crawford did allow for Yasiel Puig to burst onto the scene, a healthy outfield that also includes Andre Ethier would give manager Don Mattingly plenty of options for his lineup.
Kemp's return on Sunday from a shoulder injury gave Mattingly all four players on the active roster against Washington and Kemp made a quick impact by homering in his first at-bat of the game. However, the 28-year-old finished up his three-hit, three-RBI game by hurting his ankle sliding home in the ninth inning of the 9-2 win.
The initial hope is that it is just a sprain and that Kemp won't have to make a return trip to the DL.
"It's just a little swollen. It's not that bad," Kemp said. "I started walking around a little bit and it started feeling a little better, so (Monday) we'll see what it feels like."
Kemp's injury put a damper on the three-game sweep of the Nationals, one that gave Los Angeles a 20-5 record since June 21. That has helped the Dodgers make up nine games in the NL West standings as they trail the first-place Arizona Diamondbacks by just a half game.
Taking the hill in tonight's opener for the Dodgers is Hyun-Jin Ryu, who will face the Blue Jays for the first time in his career as the rookie tries to rebound from a rough final start before the All-Star break.
Ryu yielded five runs over five innings of a no-decision in Arizona on July 10, allowing more than three earned runs for the first time in 11 outings. It also marked just the second time in the left-hander's 18 starts this season that he failed to log at least six innings of work.
"This was my worst outing so far," Ryu told the Dodgers' website. "After the team came back to get us on top, I did what a starting pitcher shouldn't do."
The 26-year-old is 7-3 with a 3.09 earned run average on the season, including 3-2 with a 4.42 ERA in nine games on the road.
The Blue Jays, meanwhile, sit last in the AL East, having lost 16 of 23 games since ripping off an 11-game winning streak in the middle of June. They opened the second half by getting swept in three games by the Tampa Bay Rays, falling in Sunday's finale 4-3.
Toronto did make a late push, getting a two-run double from Jose Reyes in the ninth inning to close the deficit to one run. However, Jose Bautista struck out and Edwin Encarnacion grounded out, moving Reyes to third.
Following an Adam Lind walk, Melky Cabrera grounded out to third to end the contest and give Toronto its sixth loss in seven games.
"We need to turn it around because it's the end of July," said Reyes. "We can't fall too far behind because that's going to make it too tough for us to run with something. We need to turn it around starting (Monday) because it's getting late."
It wasn't the first half the Blue Jays envisioned for right-hander Josh Johnson after acquiring him this past offseason from the Miami Marlins. He'll look to get on track Monday evening against a former NL foe.
Johnson went just 1-5 with a 5.16 ERA in 12 starts with the Blue Jays this season, also missing time due to injury. He dropped three straight starts ahead of the break, yielding a season-high seven runs over six innings of a setback in Baltimore last Sunday.
It marked the most runs the 29-year-old had allowed in an outing since also yielding seven in a game on June 23, 2007.
Johnson, who has a 3.67 ERA at home this year, is 3-2 in seven previous meetings with the Dodgers, posting a 5.84 ERA.
The Dodgers and Blue Jays are meeting for the first time since splitting six encounters during the 2007 campaign. Each team took two of three on the road that year.