Both young outfielders were in the lineup against the Washington Nationals, with Dodgers manager Don Mattingly calling it an “energy day,” an opportunity to rest Matt Kemp and get two of the organization’s most athletic players in the lineup at the same time. Puig shifted back to right field, an indication the Dodgers prefer Pederson’s glove over Puig’s in center. The two played together at Double-A Chattanooga last season.
Pederson, 22, made his first major-league start Tuesday night and picked up his first major-league hit, going 1-for-3 with a walk. With Clayton Kershaw dominating the Nationals, no balls were hit to center field. Mattingly said he would like to get back to the set lineup that has Puig playing every day in center field, but the team needs to see signs of progress in Puig’s batting to do so. He is hitting .210 with just three extra-base hits and 24 strikeouts since Aug. 1.
If Puig continues to struggle, Pederson will continue to get opportunities.
“I’ll just see how it goes,” Mattingly said. “Obviously, we’ve got to try to get Yasiel going. That’s really the wild card. If we get him going, then things stay the same.”