- Associated Press - Friday, February 14, 2014

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) - Matt Kemp isn’t in a rush to get back. Not this time.

“Me rushing back hasn’t helped me any the last two years,” he said. “So I need to take a different approach.”

The Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder underwent surgery on his left ankle last October after the injury sidelined him the last two months of the season, as well as throughout the team’s postseason run.

Kemp did some fielding and throwing when the Dodgers went through their first full-squad workout of spring training on Friday. He said the injury hasn’t affected his ability to hit, either.

Running is the problem. For now, he’s working on a treadmill to improve the ankle’s strength.

“I can’t tell you whether it’s 60 percent, 70 percent. I really haven’t tested it yet,” he said. “I’m taking my time.””

Kemp said he has no timetable for his return but said he won’t play until he feels he’s completely healthy.

“I don’t want to be a player that comes back and feels good and gets hurt again and comes back,” he said. “I want to play the whole year and be 100 percent.”

Manager Don Mattingly has said he doesn’t expect Kemp to be ready when the Dodgers open their season in Australia on March 22. Kemp doesn’t necessarily agree.

“Nobody knows that,” he said. “I don’t know when I’ll be ready. I might be ready before the season starts. I might be ready a couple of games after. I can’t tell, man. Only time will tell.”

Kemp also underwent left shoulder surgery to clean out some loose particles, rectifying a problem that plagued him last year before the ankle injury.

“I was cutting my swing. I couldn’t get extension. I couldn’t do a lot of things,” he said. “Now I got my AC joint cleaned up, nothing going on in there, I feel great shoulder- , body-wise.”

Before being slowed by hamstring problems in 2012, then the shoulder and ankle issues last year, Kemp had been something of an iron man, appearing in 399 consecutive games without injury before being left out of the lineup one day in May of 2012.

In the process, he became one of the game’s best players.

In 2011, his last full healthy season, Kemp hit .329 and led the NL in home runs (39) and RBIs (126). That year Kemp finished second to Ryan Braun in MVP voting, an award many felt should have been given to him retroactively after Braun’s performance-enhancing drug issues.

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