07/17/2012 04:13 pm ET | Updated Sep 12, 2012

Kemp Returns to Dodgers Lineup

Los Angeles, CA -- The time has finally come for the player who lead the league in home runs and RBI's in the month of April. It's hard to forget how he guided the Los Angeles Dodgers to one of their best starts in the history of the franchise. But things drastically changed when their All-Star player got hurt and went on the disabled list twice.

Now as the second half of the season begins, Matt Kemp returns. Not sure what to expect, Kemp along with the rest of the team hopes to maintain their position and continue to play good baseball. Despite the injuries the Dodgers have still managed to win.

"I hope that's the case when I get back (when asked if he can get back to form)," said Matt. "I definitely want to pick up where I left off and give my team a boost, that's the plan."

As for now, Kemp has a lot of work to do, his teammate Andre Ethier will also return today. Both are coming off injuries and will be watched closely in their first game back. Matt more than Ethier due to the length of time he has been out. Kemp still remains among the elite in baseball even though he has missed so much time.

We definitely want to watch Matt more in this game," manager Don Mattlingly said. "He has not played in a long time and we need to monitor him closely, Andre has had the opportunity to get some games in but not Kemp."

The Dodgers begin three-game series against the San Diego Padres. While they hold first place in the National League West division, the San Francisco Giants stay close with one game behind to regain first. After four Giant players were voted into the All-Star game, three players rose to the occasion, especially Melky Cabrera who claimed the MVP honors for this years game.

With 81 games remaining in the season, it's still any team's opportunity to shine. There's a lot of baseball left and too early to decide who will claim it all. But predictions are always welcomed. For San Francisco, their pitching is most important in determining their success which has already been proven.

"We have everybody back and we hope to continue to play good baseball," explained Kemp. "We definitely want to still hold first place and we have a lot baseball left to try and do just that."

Contributed by: Tamara Latta