<
>

Dodgers want Joc Pederson to be agressive on defense -- to a point

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Don Mattingly wants center fielder Joc Pederson to feel comfortable about taking charge on fly balls when going into the alleys.

“As center fielder, he has the priority,’’ the Los Angeles Dodgers manager said.

Mattingly said he had no issue with a play Pederson made in Monday’s 4-1 loss to the Texas Rangers, hustling into the gap in right-center to make a catch. Judging by the body language, right fielder Yasiel Puig was not as pleased about Pederson’s aggressiveness.

Puig had less distance to cover and was near Pederson when the catch was made.

Later in the game, perhaps to prove he is not playing favorites, on a ball that left fielder Andre Ethier had settled under, Pederson raced in front at the last moment. Ethier made the catch.

Mattingly said in that situation, when a teammate is camped under the ball, it is common sense for a player to back off.

“They talked about it in the dugout, too,’’ said Mattingly.

The Dodgers want Pederson to be aggressive, but use judgment when a teammate is waiting to make the catch by either going behind the play or backing off.

“We don’t want him to run in front of guys,’’ the manager said.

Adding to the difficulty, Mattingly pointed out, is crowd noise that sometimes prevents players from hearing the ball being called.

Injury front: Brandon Beachy is scheduled to take the next step in his comeback from Tommy John surgery tonight. Beachy, sidelined since Aug. 20, 2013, is scheduled to throw two innings for Single-A Rancho Cucamonga. ... Paco Rodriguez, on the disabled list since May 30 with left elbow strain, pitched a scoreless inning for Rancho Cucamonga on Monday in his first rehab appearance. ... In the same game, outfielder/first baseman Scott Van Slyke went 2-for-4 with a home run in his second rehab game and Joe Peralta threw a perfect inning in his third rehab outing. ... The right shoulder injury that has sidelined Brandon League is getting better. League pitched a scoreless ninth in Rancho Cucamonga's 9-0 win over High Desert.

Lineup: Jimmy Rollins bats ninth for the first time. Mattingly said he looks at it as “second leadoff’’ and explained American League teams use the strategy of using a leadoff-style hitter often at the bottom of the order.

Dodgers (37-27) -- Joc Pederson (CF), Yasiel Puig (RF), Adrian Gonzalez (1B), Howie Kendrick (2B), Justin Turner (3B), Andre Ethier (LF), Yasmani Grandal (C), Alex Guerrero (DH), Jimmy Rollins (SS).

Notes: Mattingly called Tuesday’s hacking news of the Houston Astros “surprising,’’ but added he was going to “stay out of that.’’... A shower 3 1/2 hours before scheduled game time prevented either team from taking batting practice outside. ... Tonight’s Dodgers’ starting pitcher, Brett Anderson, is from Midland, Texas, but is 0-3 in his career at Globe Life Park, site of today’s 5:05 p.m. CT start against the Rangers.