The Major League Baseball All-star teams were recently announced, with four Los Angeles Dodgers making the team: Zack Greinke, Adrian Gonzalez, Yasmani Grandal and Joc Pederson.
The rookie centerfielder, Pederson, will also be participating in the Home Run Derby, something that he said he dreamed about as a young kid. “It should be a fun time. Like I said, it’s a huge honor just to be a part of the event. And then just to be a part of the Home Run Derby is something you kind of dream about as a little kid. You watch all the great home run hitters. Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds, all these great guys who participated, Ken Griffey. I think it’s a special event,” Pederson said.
Dodgers Triple-A hitting coach Johnny Washington, who coached Pederson in the minors, was chosen by Pederson to pitch to him in the derby. “He was just really excited that I wanted to bring him a part of this, but he’s been with me since day one so it’s only appropriate that he does come along and get to share a special event and see how far we’ve came together.”
Pederson has 20 home runs on the season, which is the fourth most out of the eight derby participants. Due to the new format, the derby will now feature head-to-head matchups. Pederson will take on Baltimore Orioles third baseman Manny Machado in the first round. Machado has 19 homers on the season. When asked about him, Pederson did not have much to say other than, “He’s a great hitter.”
Dodgers have not fared will at the Home Run Derby in recent years, as Matt Kemp hit just one two years ago and Yasiel Puig hit none last year, but the 23-year-old will attempt to turn that around as he swings for the fences Monday, July 13 at Cincinnati’s Great American Ballpark, with the All-star game following the day after on Tuesday, July 14.