Despite some speculation that he was bound for St. Louis to join the Dodgers, center fielder Joc Pederson was back with the Albuquerque Isotopes on Thursday afternoon. It was a quick return after a busy Triple-A All-Star break that saw Pederson shine as the Isotopes’ lone representative in Durham, N.C. on Wednesday night.
“I think it was a pretty good experience,” Pederson said. “Any all-star game you go to is a special time. It’s an honor to represent the Isotopes and Dodgers in such an event.”
Pederson struck out in his first two at-bats before crushing a mammoth solo home run to right field in the sixth inning. He later drew a walk and scored a second run but the Pacific Coast League still lost 7-3 to the International League.
“It felt really good,” Pederson said of the home run. “I was just trying to hit the ball. I’d struck out twice already and we were losing by like four (runs). So I was just trying to hit the ball and luckily I hit it pretty good.”
Pederson’s in-game heroics did not come as a surprise to his manager. Damon Berryhill managed Pederson at rookie-level Ogden in 2011 and again this season.
“I’ve come to expect that from him throughout his career,” Berryhill said. “He always seems to step up in big ballgames. He’s been doing that for us for the four years I’ve been around him.”
Pederson did miss nearly two weeks recently with a separated right shoulder. He has showed no ill effects since being activated July 9.
“It’s feeling really good,” he said. “I’m still doing my treatment and what not before and after the game. I’ll keep doing that and hopefully stay on track.”
Staying mum on the forfeit
Berryhill did not have much to say about what led to the forfeit of the Isotopes’ July 9 victory over El Paso. Albuquerque was cited for having an illegal roster as Pederson was activated from the disabled list without a corresponding move to keep the roster at 25 players.
“We got caught up in basically a paper move and just made a mistake in a transaction that ended up costing us a game,” Berryhill said. “We just put that one behind us and go from here. We went over to Vegas and had a good series there, taking two of three. I’m feeling pretty good about the club.”
Guerrero getting closer to return
Second baseman Alex Guerrero is playing baseball again for the first time since the infamous incident where former teammate Miguel Olivo bit off part of his left ear. Guerrero has appeared in four games with the Dodgers’ rookie team in the Arizona League.
So far Guerrero has gone 5-for-12 with a home run and four RBI. He has continued to see action at multiple positions, which had been the plan when he was with the Isotopes prior to the injury.
“I think he’s playing nine innings now, he’s getting back in baseball shape,” Berryhill said. “He should be sooner than later. I’m not positive on the dates but it’s looking good. He’s been playing, so we’re excited for that opportunity for him to get back and get going.”
Roster shenanigans kick off second half
The Isotopes had quite a few roster moves Thursday. Rehabbing Dodgers Chone Figgins and Scott Elbert were two additions.
Figgins will play third base and hit leadoff Thursday. Berryhill said the plan is for Figgins to play second base for six innings Friday, followed by time in a corner outfield spot Saturday and then serve as the designated hitter Sunday.
Elbert, a lefty reliever, was a late to the roster. He appeared in two games with the Isotopes earlier in the month while the team was in El Paso but a sore left toe shut him down again for a bit.
In addition to those moves, first baseman Clint Robinson rejoined the roster and right-handed reliever Josh Ravin was promoted from Double-A Chattanooga. To make room for them, right-handed reliever Juan Abreu was released and outfielder Brian Cavazos-Galvez was placed on the DL with lower back tightness.