Joc Pederson goes 2-for-2 in Cactus League debut

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It was an enjoyable first day of Cactus League competition for Dodgers prospect Joc Pederson.

The 22-year-old, who is expected to be the Opening Day center fielder in Los Angeles, singled against White Sox rotation hopeful Brad Penny in the third inning and then doubled off the left-center field wall in the fifth inning Wednesday afternoon in his spring debut, a 6-4 loss to the Pale Hose. Pederson served as the Dodgers’ DH while Andre Ethier manned center field. Ethier finished 0-for-2 with two strikeouts and couldn’t catch up to a ball hit to deep center.

Pederson batted .303/.435/.582 with 33 home runs and 30 stolen bases in 121 games last season at Triple-A Albuquerque. He’s among the preseason favorites for National League Rookie of the Year.

Ethier, meanwhile, has requested a trade.

Padres fire Andy Green

Andy Green
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The Padres fired manager Andy Green on Saturday, per an official team release. Bench coach Rod Barajas will step into the position for the remaining eight games of the 2019 season.

Executive Vice President and GM A.J. Preller gave a statement in the wake of Green’s dismissal:

I want to thank Andy for his tireless work and dedication to the Padres over the last four seasons. This was an incredibly difficult decision, but one we felt was necessary at this time to take our organization to the next level and expedite the process of bringing a championship to San Diego. Our search for a new manager will begin immediately.

In additional comments made to reporters, Preller added that the decision had not been made based on the Padres’ current win-loss record (a fourth-place 69-85 in the NL West), but rather on the lack of response coming from the team.

“Looking at the performance, looking at it from an improvement standing, we haven’t seen the team respond in the last few months,” Preller said. “When you get to the point where you’re questioning where things are headed … we have to make that call.”

Since his hiring in October 2015, Green has faced considerable challenges on the Padres’ long and winding path to postseason contention. He shepherded San Diego through four consecutive losing seasons, drawing a career 274-366 record as the club extended their streak to 13 seasons without a playoff appearance. And, despite some definite strides in the right direction — including an eight-year, $144 million pact with Eric Hosmer, a 10-year, $300 million pact with superstar Manny Machado, and the development of top prospect Fernando Tatís Jr. — lingering injuries and inexplicable slumps from key players stalled the rebuild longer than the Padres would have liked.

For now, they’ll prepare to roll the dice with a new skipper in 2020, though any potential candidates have yet to be identified for the role. It won’t come cheap, either, as Green inked a four-year extension back in 2017 — one that should have seen him through the team’s 2021 campaign.