Dodgers’ Joc Pederson shows improvement from concussion

first_imgLOS ANGELES >> Monday marked 14 days since Joc Pederson suffered a concussion in the Dodger Stadium outfield. He remains on the disabled list, but his disposition was considerably better than it was when the Dodgers traveled to St. Louis and Milwaukee a week ago.“Everything feels good today,” he said, smiling.Pederson is still limiting his exposure to digital screens — televisions, video games, cell phones — per the team’s post-concussion protocol. But he is one test away from being cleared for game activity, and Dodgers manager Dave Roberts predicted that Pederson could begin a minor league rehab assignment as soon as Friday.Before the Dodgers’ game against the Washington Nationals, Pederson went through a full slate of baseball activities. That included taking fly balls in the outfield. Part of his impending rehab assignment includes becoming comfortable with his surroundings. The same mindset that allowed Pederson to aggressively track down a fly ball as he approached a wall and Yasiel Puig must return intact. “That’s part of the protocol,” he said. “I can dive, I can run into walls — I don’t have to be hesitant.”The Dodgers hope that Pederson’s rehab will afford him the chance to get comfortable in the batter’s box again.Pederson was batting .200 at the time of his concussion, with a .309 on-base percentage and only two home runs in 35 games. His replacement in center field, Chris Taylor, currently leads the team in on-base plus slugging percentage (.956).For that reason, Pederson’s rehab assignment might not be a short one.“When Joc comes back, 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,” Roberts said. “JT (Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner) was swinging the bat considerably better. He’ll be here quicker. I won’t look at, as much, results. Where I think Joc, we want him to be really swinging the bat well before he gets here.” Pederson wouldn’t displace Taylor entirely upon his return, either. Roberts said that Taylor can play all three outfield spots as well as second base and third base. The Dodgers’ aggressive platooning could conceivably create a new lineup spot for Taylor every night.Wood on the cuspAlex Wood said he will throw an extended bullpen session Wednesday, and the left-hander expects to return to the Dodgers’ starting rotation this weekend.Wood, who is 6-0 with a 1.69 ERA, is on the 10-day disabled list with inflammation in the SC joint in his left shoulder. He has not allowed a run in his last 25 ⅓ innings.The Dodgers have not announced their starting pitchers beyond Wednesday. If they maintain their current order, Rich Hill would start Friday against the Cincinnati Reds, followed by Kenta Maeda on Saturday. Wood was replaced in the rotation by Hyun-Jin Ryu, whose next scheduled start in Sunday.Fresh faceThe Dodgers summoned utility player Mike Freeman from Triple-A Oklahoma City, but did not officially activate him for Monday’s series opener against the Washington Nationals.Roberts said that Freeman is here as insurance for left fielder Franklin Gutierrez. Symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis and irritable bowel syndrome forced Gutierrez to miss the entire 2014 season. Some of those symptoms recently resurfaced, affecting Gutierrez’s gastrointestinal tract. He had to leave the Dodgers’ game against the May 28 against the Chicago Cubs after playing only half an inning.“We just wanted to have some coverage,” Roberts said. “I talked to Franklin earlier today and he feels good. He’s in the starting lineup today. If something goes south we wanted to have the coverage.”Freeman, 29, played six games with Oklahoma City since the Dodgers claimed him off waivers from the Seattle Mariners on May 26. He had three hits in 18 at-bats (.167) with seven strikeouts. Freeman saw time at third base and shortstop without committing an error.Freeman played 16 games with the Mariners before being designated for assignment. He had two hits in 30 at-bats, including his first major league home run. Freeman had a .312/.369/.416 slash line for the Mariners’ Triple-A affiliate this year.center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img

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