He irritated the hamstring on Sunday running out a slow grounder to short, on which he appeared to slow down and wince before reaching first base. Upon learning he was being removed, Kemp was visibly frustrated, throwing his glove at the dugout floor.
"I wasn't mad at Donnie," Kemp said, referring to manager Don Mattingly. "It isn't his fault my hamstring hurts. I'm just frustrated. I kind of haven't been able to play how I want to play."
Kemp's April was the best in baseball, but he hasn't been the same since injuring his hamstring, going homerless thus far in May. Still, Kemp is second in the National League in homers (12) and is third in average (.359) and RBIs (28).
"I've felt it in there," Kemp said when asked if the hamstring has affected his performance. "I haven't been able to run the way I've wanted to run and do some of the things I wanted to do, but definitely no excuses.
"The team needs me. I don't think this is a 15-day thing. I think this is is maybe one, two, three days. It's not something that I need to go on the DL for."
Kemp said he'll pay close attention to the MRI, but noted he knows his own body and its recovery time best, and given what he feels, he doesn't think he'll be sidelined long.
Mattingly said he'll listen to all parties involved.
"I wouldn't be afraid if that's what we have to do, and I think it's the right thing," Mattingly said of possibly putting Kemp on the DL. "Again, in that area, I'm going to let the medical people tell us what they think."
He added sometimes it's risky to put too much faith in a player -- especially a player like Kemp, who strives to play 162 games a year -- to be forthright with injuries.
"We have to kind of protect him from himself," Mattingly said. "Guys want to play and they'll go out there. Guys are going to say that they can play."
On Sunday, Mattingly told Kemp he couldn't stay in the game if he felt any twinge. Kemp, knowingly, didn't respond, making it clear to Mattingly that he was done for the afternoon.