Matt Kemp closer to game action

Matt Kemp is close to returning from offseason ankle surgery that has prevented the star outfielder from playing in a game this spring, Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said.

Kemp has intensified his recent spring workouts, which have included running and tracking fly balls in the outfield.

Although Kemp will not play in the Dodgers' regular-season opener in Australia, Mattingly thinks the two-time outfielder has gotten closer to a return to game action.

"We're seeing him take fly balls, getting jumps," Mattingly said Saturday, according to MLB.com. "He's swinging the bat good. It won't be long before he's in a game."

Mattingly acknowledged that he was uncertain whether Kemp would play in a spring game before the Dodgers' March 16 flight to Australia, where they will take on the Arizona Diamondbacks in a two-game series on March 22-23.

"I don't put that kind of timetable on it," Mattingly said. "As long as he's moving forward."

Kemp, 29, underwent surgery on his left ankle in October following an injury-plagued 2013 season, when he batted .270 with a career-low six home runs in just 73 games.

Kemp, who signed an eight-year deal worth $160 million following the 2011 season, has appeared in just 179 games over the last two years.