The Pederson-Puig punch for the Chattanooga Lookouts is down a Puig.
Yasiel Puig's promotion to the Los Angeles Dodgers created excitement late Monday night and early Tuesday morning in Chattanooga's clubhouse, as the Lookouts watched their former teammate collect two hits and double off a runner from right field in his big-league debut. Chattanooga lost its first game of the post-Puig era Monday night but bounced back Tuesday with a 2-1 win over Mississippi at AT&T Field.
Joc Pederson doubled to left-center and scored the game's first run on a double to left by Brian Cavzos-Galvez. Pederson insists there is no added pressure with Puig gone.
"I feel like we have a great team and that we're jelling really well together," he said. "As long as we play as one, we should be all right."
Chattanooga won Tuesday's game when Angelo Songco drew a bases-loaded walk off Braves relief pitcher Chasen Shreve with one out in the ninth inning.
Though Puig arrived from spring training with the power and pizazz, Pederson's maturity and consistency were the most impressive aspects to Chattanooga's first several weeks. The 6-foot-1, 185-pounder from Palo Alto, Calif., was a Southern League hitter of the week in April and spent much of May as the league's top hitter.
Pederson still leads the league with 43 runs scored, but he's collected just four hits in his last 24 at-bats. The 21-year-old went 0-for-13 during Chattanooga's last road trip in Mobile, striking out eight times.
"It's baseball, and I've told him that this is a great experience for him," Lookouts manager Jody Reed said. "As long as a season is, you're probably going to go through a minimum of two and probably three of these spells a year. It is unavoidable. The key is to learn how to minimize these periods. That's the difference in an average season and a good season or a great season."
The No. 4 prospect in the Dodgers organization according to Baseball America has shown signs of coming out of his slump. Tuesday was the third consecutive game in which Pederson had a hit, though his .306 average is still off from the .324 clip he had entering Mobile.
"You definitely need to bring a good mental focus, because it's a better quality game up here," Pederson said. "Everyone is extremely talented and knows how to play the game. If you take pitches off, we're going to take advantage of you. If we take pitches off, they're going to take advantage of us. The little things make a big difference."
Said Reed: "I've told him to pay special attention to this period and see what you did to minimize it or turn it around and never forget that, because that's something you will always need to come back to."
Puig, incidentally, doubled in his first at-bat Tuesday night in Los Angeles.
Rob Rasmussen (2-2, 2.67 ERA) is scheduled to start tonight's 7:15 game for the Lookouts, with Cole McCurry (0-0, 3.86) scheduled for the Braves.
Contact David Paschall at email@example.com or 423-757-6524.