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Joc Pederson working hard to break out of his recent slump

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Yasiel Puig to continue to “thrive’ in his eighth spot role

MLB: San Diego Padres at Los Angeles Dodgers Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

LOS ANGELES —- Manager Dave Roberts spoke about the slumping Joc Pederson before today’s game against the San Diego Padres.

Pederson, who has one hit in his last 32 at bats and is hitting .036/.182/.071 in August, has been struggling but for now will play when called upon by Roberts.

“He’s working his tail off, I think for Joc, there’s a mechanical issue, there’s an approach issue,” Roberts said. “He understands this, getting back to the big part of the field, he’s going to have more success, when he’s coming out his swing, getting more rotational and hitting balls to the second baseman, that’s not where he wants to be.

“So obviously, number one is he swinging at strikes and the other component is for him. He has the ability to carry outfielders to the off side, to use the big part of the field and when he’s doing that he’s a much better hitter.”

Roberts also commented on whether Pederson may be going through a lack of confidence at the plate right now.

“I think that is part of it,” Roberts said. “When any hitter or any player struggles, there is a battle with confidence because success breeds confidence and when you are struggling a little bit use start to kind of question a little bit. Joc works as hard as anyone so that there is no doubt that we know he is going to come out of this.”

As to swapping Pederson and Yasiel Puig’s spots in the lineup, for now, Roberts likes things as they have been.

“There’s a little bit to having Yasiel thrive in the eight [spot] and having the pitcher hit behind you,” Roberts said, “Then also there is a lineup construction with the opponent and how their bullpen is, but I think that where were at to kind of break up the righties and lefties, there’s advantage there too.

“It’s not something that hasn’t crossed my mind but right now I’m not prepared to move Yasiel.”

Starting lineups

Pos Padres Pos Dodgers
Pos Padres Pos Dodgers
CF Margot LF Taylor
3B Spangenberg (L) 3B Seager (L)
LF Pirela LF Turner
2B Solarte (S) 1B Bellinger (L)
1B Myers 2B Utley (L)
RF Renfroe C Grandal (S)
SS Coleman CF Pederson (L)
CF Torrens RF Puig
P Perdomo P Maeda
Time: 1:10 p.m. TV: SportsNet LA

Injury Updates

Clayton Kershaw threw a 50 pitch bullpen on Sunday morning and Roberts said the next step is a two-inning simulated game for Kershaw on Wednesday at Dodger Stadium.

Kershaw threw a 35 pitch bullpen on Friday and everything appears to be headed for a rehab assignment decision after the simulated game.

“I still think we have been pretty cautious which is most important,” Roberts said, “So to give him two innings, and obviously it will be less for two innings, more of 30-35 pitches, something like that over the course of two innings.

“We’re in good place right now with Clayton so hopefully this next marker we pass we can assess going forward.”

Roberts also said that as to Adrian Gonzalez and Andre Ethier, they both feel good, Ethier will continue to play rehab games with Rancho Cucamonga this week. Ethier will also play with Oklahoma City at some point before joining the Dodgers.

Adrian Gonzalez will join the Dodgers in Detroit this weekend.