With active rosters expanding Monday, the Los Angeles Dodgers promoted Alex Guerrero, Joc Pederson and other players from within their farm system. All of the players promoted figure to bring some value to the Dodgers in their respective manners, though Pederson’s arrival was largely the most anticipated.
As the Dodgers fell behind the Washington Nationals, two of the players called up — Guerrero and reliever Yimi Garcia — made their MLB debuts. Guerrero pinch-hit for Chris Perez in the fifth inning with the Dodgers trailing 5-2 and struck out.
Garcia entered the game in the eighth and allowed one hit across two scoreless innings. That left Pederson, who it appeared would need to wait to make his debut. However, the Dodgers mounted a two-out rally in the ninth, which led to a pinch-hit opportunity for the young outfielder.
Representing the winning run, Pederson worked a full count against Nationals closer Rafael Soriano, only to strikeout and end the game. While the outcome was less than desirable, Pederson said the situation is exactly what he desires, via the LA Daily News’ Jill Painter:
That’s what you want, to be up there with the game on the line,” Pederson said in front of a throng of reporters crowded around his locker. “Whether it’s Albuquerque or here, you want to be up there when the game matters.”
The called strike three was on a backdoor slider that Pederson believed to be ball and he began to make his way towards first base. A.J. Ellis discussed the environment in the dugout and credited Pederson for putting together a tough at-bat:
I know everyone in the dugout was excited,” catcher A.J. Ellis said. “It’s a great situation for him to experience that. Joc put a good at-bat on him. (Soriano) is an All-Star closer. You can see the respect they have for him, throwing a backdoor slider on a 3-2 count.”
Pederson of course is no stranger to being a threat at the plate — he hit 33 home runs and drove in 78 runs while batting .303. For good measure, he also added 30 stolen bases en route to being named the Pacific Coast League Most Valuable Player and he became the first player in the PCL to reach the 30-30 club in 80 years.
Pederson is all but assured more pinch-hit opportunities with the Dodgers prior to season’s end. Manager Don Mattingly said he intends on using the outfielder in a multitude of ways and added he’s comfortable playing him at any of the three outfield positions.
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