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Dodgers' Joc Pederson is taking demotion to bench in stride

Dodgers' Joc Pederson is taking demotion to bench in stride
Joc Pederson and Adrian Gonzalez, right, wait to bat before agame against the Washington Nationals on Aug. 12. (Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

Joc Pederson was on the bench again Tuesday for the Dodgers' 5-1 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.

The rookie said he understood why.

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"We're going to put the best lineup out there that's going to give us the best opportunity to win a game," Pederson said. "Right now, that's not me."

Batting .163 with a .333 on-base percentage since the All-Star break, Pederson was recently replaced by Enrique Hernandez as the team's starting center fielder.

"Hopefully, we win the rest of the games," Pederson said. "Maybe that means I'm not in the lineup. But that means that we're winning and it's working. It's not about me.

"I'm here to contribute and show up every day to try to help the team win, whether it's in center field, whether it's pinch-hitting, whether it's going in to play defense. Maybe it's just baserunning."

Pederson said he has been frustrated by his lack of success in the last couple of months, but was pleased that he remained a top-tier defender.

"I value all aspects of the game," he said.

Pederson said he is working with the team's hitting coaches to become a more selective hitter.

"Pitchers up here, if they hit their spot, you have to tip your cap," Pederson said. "That doesn't mean it's necessarily a good pitch to swing at, just because it's a strike."

Asked whether he felt he had to make significant changes to his swing, Pederson said that "in the off-season, that's something we can revisit. But right now, I don't think it's the time to make adjustments. It's about going out there and competing with what you've got."

Back in the fire

Reliever Juan Nicasio was activated from the 15-day disabled list, taking the roster spot of Yimi Garcia, who was optioned to triple-A Oklahoma City on Monday.

Nicasio was considered a reliable late-inning option when he suffered an abdominal strain. Manager Don Mattingly said he would immediately start using Nicasio in high-leverage situations.

"We don't have time to do much else with him besides throw him back in the fire," Mattingly said. "He hasn't been out that long."

Nicasio pitched the eighth inning Tuesday and loaded the bases with two outs. He was replaced by Luis Avilan, who struck out Jay Bruce to preserve a 5-1 lead.

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Still sore

Catcher Yasmani Grandal was out of the starting lineup because he felt his bruised left shoulder was affecting his swing. Grandal was struck on the nonthrowing shoulder by a foul ball this month.

"I'll probably give him another day tomorrow," Mattingly said.

The Dodgers had a day off Monday, meaning Grandal will have had three days to recover when he makes his anticipated return to the lineup Thursday in the series finale against the Reds.

Mattingly said he doesn't expect for Grandal to land on the disabled list.

"He would play tonight if he had to," Mattingly said.

Extra bases

Mat Latos pitched five innings in a simulated game and is expected to make his next start Saturday in a home game against the Chicago Cubs. Latos was temporarily removed from the rotation since the schedule allowed the Dodgers to use a four-man rotation over the last couple of weeks.

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Second baseman Howie Kendrick, sidelined since Aug. 10 because of a strained left hamstring, could start a minor league rehabilitation assignment by the end of the week.

Follow Dylan Hernandez on Twitter @dylanohernandez

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