Joc Pederson makes return to Los Angeles, receives World Series ring
Just over a month ago, the Cubs experienced a hero’s return when Kyle Schwarber and Jon Lester came back to Wrigley Field as members of the Nationals.
Thursday night in Los Angeles, it was time for a current Cub to experience a homecoming of his own.
Joc Pederson, who spent the first seven years of his career as a Dodger, made his first trip back to Dodger Stadium as a member of the Cubs as the teams opened a four-game set.
“It’s a little different for sure,” Pederson said. “Coming through a different entrance, gotta park somewhere else, different locker room and all that.
“It’s definitely different, but when you step out on the field, it’s a special feeling, iconic stadium, so it’s pretty awesome.”
Pederson’s return is extra special, though, as he received his 2020 World Series championship ring prior to Thursday night’s game. His brother, Champ, also received a World Series ring.
Pederson was a key cog for the Dodgers en route to winning their first World Series in 32 years. He started 10 games in the Dodgers’ playoff run, slashing .382/.432/.559 with 2 home runs and 8 RBI.
“[He’s] been around a lot of winning here,” David Ross said. “I’m excited for him to get the moment. It’s special. I mean you wanna win, but that hardware kinda finalizes it a little bit. It’ll be nice for him to get that ring.”
Pederson’s exploits in October are extra special for Dodger fans. He has a career .852 OPS in the playoffs with 9 home runs and 20 RBI in 64 games. His feats had Dodgers fans dubbing playoff time “Joctober”.
“I just gotta try to do my best to enjoy it and take in the moment,” Pederson said. “Obviously didn’t get to do a celebration with all the fans for the World Series, which was unfortunate. Just embrace all the memories that we had and the parade that we didn’t get to have.”
But the Cubs gave Pederson something he didn’t have in Los Angeles: the opportunity to be an everyday player. With the Dodgers, Pederson served primarily as a platoon outfielder, starting against righties, and sitting against lefties.
With the Cubs, he’s been a leadoff hitter against righties and moved down in the order against lefties. He’s hitting .297 against left-handed starting pitching with the Cubs.
“You definitely get to stay in a rhythm,” Pederson said. “When you’re going good, it’s definitely nice to get more at-bats and whatnot.”