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By Jon Weisman
No, it hasn’t been an easy time for Joc Pederson, and no, he probably wouldn’t have started Tuesday against Madison Bumgarner if Kiké Hernandez and/or Yasiel Puig had been healthy.
But Pederson has been putting in the effort toward a difficult midseason adjustment, and tonight he saw some payoff, making solid contact in all three at-bats against Bumgarner …
Joc Pederson taking his measure of Bumgarner:
3rd inning: 92 mph, 313 feet
5th inning: 93 mph, 330 feet
7th inning: 106 mph, 399 feet HR
— Dodger Insider (@DodgerInsider) September 2, 2015
… culminating in his huge seventh-inning home run, punctuated by a sprint around the bases.
“I thought he had good swings all night tonight,” Don Mattingly said. “Hopefully this continues to build. … He’s tried to make some changes. We’ve talked about how hard that is during the season. You’ve just got to stay with it and keep going. That has to be a confidence booster for him off Madison — obviously a tough, tough matchup.
“You feel good when you see success with a guy that’s been struggling, especially when a guy’s been working on something. When that starts to take hold, when you have a little success, it breeds confidence in what you’re doing. I think the fact that he’s starting to see some results, … that has a chance to put a true belief in what he’s doing.”
Update: Pederson spoke to Steve Bourbon of MLB.com about his progress. An excerpt:
“I’m just trying to have some more rhythm and stay calm. Just nice and relaxed. See the ball and hit the ball. It sounds so simple but it’s not,” Pederson said. “The adjustment this offseason was to make the barrel more upright to be consistent. At the start of the year it was good. But you lose things, go down some wrong roads, struggle a bit and you adjust. Like I said, it’s a learning process.”