The Dodgers may be one step closer to getting Joc Pederson back in the lineup. In a scheduled media huddle on Wednesday, Dave Roberts said that Pederson had progressed well from side soreness. Pederson could see Cactus League action as soon as next week.
Joc Pederson is progressing and could be in a Cactus League game next week. Roberts said he still feels Pederson will be ready for Opening Day.
— Ken Gurnick (@kengurnick) March 11, 2020
Joc had been held out of most baseball activity since camp started. The soreness was only described as “side soreness”, so no one was really sure how serious the issue was. It was serious enough to keep him from swinging a bat in a live game until this past weekend though. Joc got into a backfield game for the Dodgers over the weekend and left healthy.
The timing of Joc’s return lines up well with Opening Day. With just over two weeks left until March 26th, Joc will need to get in as many at-bats as possible to be ready to go. Pederson has yet to take hacks against major league pitching and we are quickly approaching the third week of March. For reference, Joc had fifty Spring Training at-bats for the Dodgers in 2019.
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If he is ready to go by Opening Day, Joc will likely be in the starting lineup. The Giants have already announced that right-handed pitcher Johnny Cueto will be starting against the Dodgers. That matchup gives Pederson the advantage over AJ Pollock, who will likely be his platoon partner all season long.
Cody Bellinger and Mookie Betts will likely be near-permanent fixtures in the Dodgers’ outfield for 2020. The pair of former Most Valuable Players will likely only be sat for rest barring any unforeseen circumstances. Bellinger started 151 games for the Dodgers in 2019 while Betts started 148 for the Red Sox. With the outfield locked down with those two, certainly expect less opportunity for Pederson this year.