In what ultimately became a moot point as Major League Baseball was shut down by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Los Angeles Dodgers faced injuries to multiple players during Spring Training.
Dustin May and Jimmy Nelson were on the mend, and Omar Estevez overcame shoulder trouble to return to Cactus League action. But Joc Pederson never managed to appear in a Major League game after being limited during Spring Training workouts.
He was slowed by a right side/hip injury from the beginning of camp and had just been cleared to participate in workouts and a Minor League game before MLB suspended operations.
While the 27-year-old had returned to the field and taken at-bats, Pederson was having trouble throwing, per Ken Gurnick of MLB.com:
Roberts said Pederson hasn’t begun throwing to bases from the field.
“That’s been more of a hurdle than the swing,” Roberts said.
Even though Pederson remained limited in throwing, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts had nonetheless indicated he was expected to make a full recovery in time for Opening Day. Roberts’ comments came prior to MLB delaying the start of the season for two weeks, and then pushing it back into mid-May.
Pederson is coming off a career season in which he batted .249/.339/.538 with 36 home runs and 74 RBI while appearing in 149 games. But facing the prospect of becoming a free agent after the 2020 season, he was nearly traded to the L.A. Angels just before the start of Spring Training.
However, the deal, which also involved Ross Stripling, was called off by Arte Moreno due to frustration over the delay with the trade being completed. What could have been an uncomfortable situation for Pederson and Stripling was avoided due to their desire to remain with the Dodgers.
So Pederson figures to be the primary left fielder when the Dodgers face right-handed pitching, and AJ Pollock will likely see a lot of time against left-handers as a part of the platoon.
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