Joc Pederson and Justin Turner both returned to game action on Friday, though the former did so on a rehab assignment with Triple-A Oklahoma City. Pederson played five innings in center field and went 1-for-3 with the first of back-to-back-to-back home runs.
He has been on the seven-day concussion disabled list since May 25. Pederson sustained the injury, along with a sprained neck, when colliding with his Los Angeles Dodgers teammate Yasiel Puig in the right-center field gap on May 23.
Manager Dave Roberts has stressed the importance of Pederson needing to perform well in rehab games, and has avoided putting any sort of timeline on his expected return. Roberts maintained that stance Friday.
“It’s two-fold. It’s about Joc’s health and how he feels taking at-bats, how his body feels playing defense and how he recovers,” Roberts explained.
“But also, it’s about performing. Yes, it’s a rehab assignment. But we still need Joc to feel good at the plate when he gets back. To put a date on a return, I think is unfair. It adds a little bit more pressure.”
Roberts summed up this thoughts by adding the length of Pederson’s rehab assignment is “open-ended.” In the absence of their everyday center fielder, the Dodgers have turned to Chris Taylor.
He’s playing the position for the first time in his career. Taylor began fielding fly balls during Spring Training and spent some Cactus League games in center field. Taylor’s hot bat has provided the Dodgers the luxury of not needing to rush Pederson back.
In 46 games this season, Taylor is batting .310/.401/.524 with 10 doubles, seven home runs and 24 RBI. Conversely, Pederson batted .200/.309/.314 with six doubles, two home runs, 11 RBI, 13 walks and 33 strikeouts through 35 games before landing on the disabled list.