LOS ANGELES -- The plug has been pulled on the Joc Pederson-as-first-baseman experiment.
Pederson will resume outfield duties and Cody Bellinger will again play first base, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. Management reversed those roles in mid-June, as a reaction to a right shoulder injury Bellinger sustained diving for a grounder at first base.
Bellinger's injury, combined with a crowded outfield, led Pederson to try learning first base on the fly to increase his playing time. He encountered the predictable challenges with the speed of the infield game at the big league level.
“He’s worked his tail off to get better and I really applaud him,” said Roberts. “This gets Joc back in the outfield. That’s a decision we’ve made going forward.”
Recent improvement at the position has been obscured by several high-profile misplays, although Pederson said he was encouraged recently and would be open to a full Spring Training at the position.
Roberts said Bellinger would play first base against right-handed starting pitchers.
“Certain times Cody will be back in right field against left-handed pitching with Max Muncy at first base,” said Roberts.
Verdugo a late scratch
New additions join the club
Both Wednesday acquisitions were in the clubhouse on Thursday. Left-handed reliever Adam Kolarek, obtained from Tampa Bay for Minor League outfielder Niko Hulsizer, was activated and the club optioned Caleb Ferguson to Triple-A Oklahoma City.
Injured infielder Jedd Gyorko -- traded with international cap space and cash by the Cardinals for Tony Cingrani and Minor League pitcher Jeffry Abreu -- will join Double-A Tulsa on a rehab assignment on Friday as he heals from injuries to his back and hamstring, then surgery to remove a bone spur in his right wrist.
Gyorko said he hopes to be ready in 10 days, but Roberts said he would like Gyorko to get 40-50 at-bats, which sounds more like two weeks of games. Gyorko's last MLB action was June 6.