Notes: Pederson tests hip; Álvarez a no-go
PHOENIX -- The Dodgers finally had some news to report on outfielder Joc Pederson, who resumed outdoor baseball activities on Friday after missing a week with an unspecified right hip issue.
Pederson took swings at about 75 percent effort in the cage and played catch on the field.
“He felt OK,” manager Dave Roberts said. “I think that’s progress. We’ll see how he responds tomorrow.”
It’s a pivotal season in the career of Pederson, who is eligible for free agency when it’s over. Pederson’s past month has been volatile, with a nixed trade to the Angels, a salary arbitration loss and now the injury.
Álvarez a scratch
The news wasn’t as upbeat on Cuban right-hander Yadier Álvarez, whose scheduled Cactus League debut was scrubbed, according to Roberts, when Álvarez “didn’t feel right” when he was getting loose.
“I expected him to come in, and he couldn’t pitch,” said Roberts.
Álvarez is in the midst of a 30-day ramp-up after which the Dodgers will decide whether he is assigned to a Minor League club or returned to the restricted list, where he was placed last year after leaving Double-A Tulsa.
The Dodgers invested $32 million in Álvarez in 2015 when they signed him for $16 million and paid an additional $16 million tax penalty. In 2017, Álvarez was considered the club’s No. 3 prospect by MLB Pipeline.
• A pair of players promoted to the 40-man roster over the winter were the Dodgers’ offensive stars on Friday. Zach McKinstry and DJ Peters slugged two-run homers in the 6-5 loss to Milwaukee.
• A late-breaking curveball in Caleb Ferguson’s outing Thursday caught the attention of Roberts. Ferguson explained that the improvement was almost an accidental benefit from offseason work with Dan Delucia, Ohio State pitching coach and Ferguson’s go-to since high school.
“I was working on a third pitch, a slider-cutter thing, and working on that pitch has helped the curveball,” Ferguson said. “I haven’t changed anything with the curve, but since throwing the cutter, the velo on the curve is up and it’s easier to keep around the zone. The third pitch has helped shorten it up and it’s harder for the hitter to pick up.”
• Matt Beaty has already seen multiple starts at third base this spring, including on Friday, and it’s by design. Roberts said Beaty has the inside track for a bench job because he can play the position.
The Dodgers feel they are adequately covered at first base with Max Muncy and Cody Bellinger, so Beaty could become the left-handed-hitting backup to Justin Turner at third base. The Dodgers don’t have a right-handed-hitting backup at first base, unless Turner or Enrique Hernández plays there.
“His ability to come off the bench and hit, the ability to play well against right-handed pitching and I feel good with him on defense,” Roberts said of Beaty. “Inside track [for a job], I think is fair.”
The Dodgers will play split-squad games on Saturday. Against Peter Lambert and the Rockies at Salt River Fields, Walker Buehler will make his 2020 Cactus League debut, as will new reliever Brusdar Graterol. Against the D-backs at Camelback Ranch, Ross Stripling will start against Taylor Clarke.