Many folks around Camelback Ranch have described Pederson’s issue as a problem with his “side” or abdomen, suggesting that the ailment is perhaps muscular in nature. Skipper Dave Roberts has all but confirmed that Pederson’s oblique is not affected by the soreness.
“I haven’t heard that word,” Roberts said, referring to Pederson’s oblique area. “That’s the word you don’t want to hear, and I haven’t heard it. That’s a dirty word.”
Nevertheless, a bit of good news surfaced on Friday. During workouts in the morning, Ken Gurnick of MLB.com indicated that Joc began playing catch. Later in the day, Bill Plunkett of the OC Register reported that Pederson swung a bat for the first time in weeks.
As far as Pederson being ready for Opening Day goes, it could be a race against time. However, the Dodgers will be in absolutely no hurry to rush Pederson back into action, especially with A.J. Pollock healthy and ready to go in left field.
At one point over the winter, it appeared as if Pederson and righty swing man Ross Stripling were on their way to play for the Angels, opening the door for Pollock to be the primary left fielder.
Yet, once the deal with Anaheim fell through, the concept of a platoon between Pederson and Pollock resurfaced. With regards to center and right field, both Cody Bellinger and Mookie Betts are expected to see the bulk of the playing time, regardless of the handedness of the opposing pitcher.
Last season, Pederson slashed .249/.339/.538, setting career highs with 36 homers and 74 RBI. What’s more, Joc primarily hit in the leadoff spot in 2019; but, with Betts poised to assume that role, there’s no telling where Pederson might eventually settle into the lineup, assuming he garners most of the left field AB against right-handed pitching.
In other news, the Dodgers have shut down righty pitcher Jimmy Nelson, just when things appeared to be progressing. Nelson was struggling with back and groin issues early in camp, but he seemed to be throwing well during several bullpen sessions last week.
After Wednesday’s session, though, the same injury apparently resurfaced, causing the need for the shutdown.
In terms of a potential return, there’s no timetable set right now.