SAN DIEGO -- Joc Pederson finished sixth in National League Rookie of the Year Award voting two years ago, Corey Seager won the award last year, Cody Bellinger is the clear favorite this year and the Dodgers took the wraps off their candidate for next year when they started Alex
SAN DIEGO -- Joc Pederson finished sixth in National League Rookie of the Year Award voting two years ago, Corey Seager won the award last year, Cody Bellinger is the clear favorite this year and the Dodgers took the wraps off their candidate for next year when they started Alex Verdugo in the outfield for his Major League debut for Friday night's 1-0 win over the Padres. Verdugo is ranked by MLBPipeline.com as the Dodgers' No. 2 prospect and is No. 28 on the Top 100 Prospects list.
Verdugo went 0-for-3 with a walk in his debut Friday night.
Verdugo, utilitymen Rob Segedin and O'Koyea Dickson and pitcher Fabio Castillo were promoted with the expansion of rosters on Friday, while the club also activated Clayton Kershaw and Andre Ethier from the disabled list. Kershaw got the start Friday night after missing five weeks with a lower back strain, and Ethier, out all season with a disk herniation, will compete for a postseason roster spot and probably start Saturday night's game. Ethier went 0-for-1 Friday after entering the game as a pinch-hitter
Pitcher Brock Stewart, scheduled to start Game 1 of Saturday's doubleheader, and pitcher Wilmer Font will be added on Saturday, manager Dave Roberts said. While the promotions of Dickson, Castillo and Font are generally considered rewards for fine seasons, Segedin and Verdugo could work their way into the postseason roster conversation. Segedin could be the last man standing among right-handed hitters off the bench, with Trayce Thompson, Scott Van Slyke and Franklin Gutierrez unable to fill that role. And Verdugo could use as a role model Seager, who used a September callup two years ago to earn the starting shortstop job over James Rollins.
"It's up to the player," said Roberts. "We'll see what happens."
Verdugo was promoted ahead of Pederson, who remains at Triple-A working on his swing and playing left field. Roberts said he had no hesitation starting the 21-year-old Verdugo in his first day in the big leagues. Verdugo hit .314 with six homers, four triples, 27 doubles and 62 RBIs in 117 games at Triple-A Oklahoma City.
"For a young player, sometimes it's best to get them in the fire and get them going," said Roberts. "He's earned this opportunity."
This is also the first callup for Dickson, 27, who hit .246 with 70 runs, 22 doubles, one triple, 24 homers and 76 RBIs in 116 games with OKC. Roberts said Dickson will start a game on Saturday in left field.
"Love him in the batter's box," Roberts said of Dickson.
Segedin's season has been interrupted by toe and wrist injuries, but he showed RBI ability last year and he could become a key right-handed hitter off the bench with the ability to play the corner-infield spots. Castillo, 28, reaches MLB for the first time in a 12-year professional career.
To make room on the 40-man roster, the Dodgers placed left-handed pitcher Grant Dayton on the 60-day disabled list following Tommy John surgery on Tuesday and designated outfielder Brett Eibner and left-handed pitcher Luis Ysla for assignment. Eibner's season ended when he underwent Tommy John surgery after attempting to pitch.
Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.