Dodgers send Andrew Toles to minors, keep Joc Pederson on roster
In one of the final moves in constructing their opening-day roster, the Dodgers optioned outfielder Andrew Toles to triple-A Oklahoma City on Wednesday, clearing a path for outfielder Joc Pederson and utility man Kyle Farmer to occupy the last two spots on the bench.
Toles outperformed Pederson during spring training, but will still open the season in the minors. Toles sat out the majority of the 2017 season after tearing a knee ligament and some team officials believed he could benefit from playing every day in the minors. There was also little concern about his ability to handle the demotion.
“It’s cool,” Toles said Tuesday night after a burst water pipe at Dodger Stadium ruined the final game of the Freeway Series closing the preseason. “Whatever they want me to do, I’m with it.”
He added: “If I go down, it wouldn’t be nothing to come back in a week or two, maybe three, whatever. I’m just going to be ready whenever my name’s called.”
A similar situation unfolded last spring, when Chris Taylor opened the season in Oklahoma City before an injury created an opening on the big league roster. The Dodgers make liberal use of the 10-day disabled list, so Toles is unlikely to be away from the team for long.
The Dodgers are likely to split time between Pederson and Matt Kemp in left field, with Kemp looking like the favorite to play more often. Pederson did little this spring to build on his performance in the World Series, when he hit three home runs to end a disappointing season on an optimistic note.
Pederson batted .148 in 21 games this spring, with a .505 on-base-plus-slugging percentage. Kemp started hot but cooled off as camp came to a close, finishing with an .879 OPS. Kemp homered against the Angels on Tuesday night in his final at-bat of the spring.
Farmer secured his spot Tuesday when the Dodgers designated outfielder Trayce Thompson for assignment. Farmer can play third base and catcher. He can back up Logan Forsythe at third while Justin Turner’s fractured wrist mends. Farmer’s presence also permits manager Dave Roberts to use Yasmani Grandal or Austin Barnes as a late-game pinch-hitter.
After the flood
Unable to stop flooding from the burst water pipe Tuesday night, the Dodgers were forced to call off a game in the fifth inning against the Angels as a pool of liquid seeped along the left-field line near the Dodgers dugout. Team officials were hesitant to describe the nature of the liquid, but several players believed it was sewage.
The team spent Wednesday trying to solve the problem before Thursday’s season opener. The organization released a statement late in the afternoon indicating they were “confident” it would not happen again.
“There were issues with the drainage system at Dodger Stadium,” the statement read. “The club has made repairs and has thoroughly examined the entire system. The team is confident that there will be no further issues.”
The level of damage beyond the diamond was unclear. The flooding reached the coaches’ room and may have compromised Roberts’ office, players said. Roberts declined to comment when asked about the state of his sanctuary.
Dodger Stadium opened in 1962. The stadium has a better track recording with its plumbing than Oakland Coliseum, which opened in 1966 and has been plagued by sewage leaks in recent years.
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