Ped­er­son’s re­hab stint might not be a short one

Los Angeles Times - - BASEBALL - By Bill Shaikin bill.shaikin@la­times.com Twit­ter: @Bil­lShaikin

The Dodgers sent third base­man Justin Turner on a mi­nor league re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion as­sign­ment Mon­day with the usual farewell: just show us you’re healthy; we don’t care too much about the re­sults.

When the Dodgers send out­fielder Joc Ped­er­son on his re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion as­sign­ment — by the end of the week, they hope — they ab­so­lutely will care about the re­sults.

Ped­er­son is bat­ting .200 with two home runs. Although the Dodgers largely have shielded him from left-handed pitch­ing, his .623 on­base-plus-slug­ging per­cent­age is the third-low­est of any Na­tional League out­fielder with at least 100 plate ap­pear­ances, bet­ter only than Hunter Pence and Gorkys Her­nan­dez of the San Fran­cisco Giants.

“When Joc comes back,” man­ager Dave Roberts said, “we’re go­ing to have the con­fi­dence that he is swing­ing the bat the way he should be swing­ing the bat to war­rant com­ing back and help­ing our club.”

Chris Tay­lor, who led the Dodgers with a .956 OPS en­ter­ing play Mon­day, would make for a nat­u­ral pla­toon part­ner with Ped­er­son in cen­ter field. How­ever, Tay­lor has the high­est OPS against righthanders of any Dodgers player other than Turner.

Roberts said that Tay­lor will play sec­ond base, third base and all three out­field po­si­tions. His an­swer to whether Ped­er­son would re­claim his role of start­ing against right-han­ders did not men­tion Ped­er­son.

“Now, it doesn’t mat­ter the hand­ed­ness for Chris,” Roberts said. “He’s shown me that he’s a pro­duc­tive hit­ter, re­gard­less of who is on the mound. He’s forced our hand and made it more of a pri­or­ity to find at-bats for him.”

Roberts said that Turner is ex­pected to play two mi­nor league games, with the hope of re­join­ing the Dodgers as soon as Fri­day. He said that Ped­er­son’s re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion as­sign­ment would be longer; ma­jor league rules limit it to 20 days.

Ped­er­son, on the dis­abled list since May 25 after suf­fer­ing a con­cus­sion in an out­field col­li­sion with Yasiel Puig, com­pleted a work­out Mon­day at Dodger Sta­dium. He said he un­der­stood the need for pa­tience and said he has no idea how long it might take to get back into base­ball form.“This is my first con­cus­sion,” he said. He said he is free of symp­toms. “It’s pretty frus­trat­ing when you’re sit­ting at home,” he said. “I wasn’t do­ing any­thing. My head is fine. I feel good.

“But the brain is some­thing you have to take ex­tra cau­tion with, es­pe­cially with the stuff com­ing out con­cus­sion-wise in the NFL.”

Back at blue heaven

Hall of Fame man­ager Tom La­sorda, 89, was back at Dodger Sta­dium on Mon­day, 11 days after surgery to in­stall a new pace­maker.

La­sorda vis­ited the team in the club­house be­fore the game. He watched the game from the owner’s box next to the Dodgers dugout and got a warm ova­tion when in­tro­duced in the fourth in­ning.

“It’s great to be here,” he said via a team spokesman. “I am so thank­ful to ev­ery­one who helped to take care of me and make me well. I hope to be around for many years to come.”

Taxi squad

There are the teams that would rather play a man short for a day or two than spend the money to fly in a replacement player from the mi­nor leagues.

Then there are the Dodgers, who flew in in­fielder Mike Freeman from triple-A Ok­la­homa City on Mon­day just in case out­fielder Franklin Gutierrez had a re­cur­rence of his gas­troin­testi­nal ill­ness.

Freeman did not have a name­plate above his locker, as he was not ac­ti­vated. The Dodgers claimed him on waivers last month from the Seat­tle Mariners. He has the ver­sa­til­ity the Dodgers crave; he has played ev­ery po­si­tion but cen­ter field and catcher in a 37game ma­jor league ca­reer.

He pitched an in­ning too, giv­ing up one run but throw­ing 14 of 22 pitches for strikes.

“That was my goal — throw a lot of strikes and not have a long in­ning,” he said. “I avoided that. But I do have an ERA, un­for­tu­nately.”

Short hops

En­rique Her­nan­dez made his ma­jor league de­but at first base Mon­day, with the Dodgers sit­ting left-han­ders Cody Bellinger and Adrian Gon­za­lez against Wash­ing­ton Na­tion­als left-han­der Gio Gon­za­lez. Her­nan­dez has played ev­ery po­si­tion but pitcher and catcher. … Alex Wood, on the dis­abled list be­cause of an in­flamed joint in his chest, said he ex­pects to be ac­ti­vated this week­end. Wood’s 1.69 earned-run av­er­age is the low­est in the Na­tional League, although he has thrown too few in­nings to count among league lead­ers. … Corey Sea­ger con­tin­ues to lead at short­stop in fan vot­ing for the Na­tional League All-Star game starters. Sea­ger would be the first Dodgers player to start at short­stop since Bill Rus­sell in 1980 — the last time the All-Star game was played at Dodger Sta­dium.

Morry Gash As­so­ci­ated Press

CHRIS Tay­lor could make for a nat­u­ral pla­toon part­ner with Joc Ped­er­son in cen­ter field.

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