LA's callups include top OF prospect Verdugo

Roberts says touted slugger will play amid crowded outfield, which will also have veteran Ethier

LA's callups include top OF prospect Verdugo

PHOENIX -- Top outfield prospect Alex Verdugo will be among the Friday callups by the Dodgers when rosters expand, manager Dave Roberts confirmed on Thursday.

Verdugo, a left-handed hitter, will vie for playing time with fellow left-handed-hitting outfielders Curtis Granderson and Andre Ethier, the latter being activated on Friday after missing five months with a herniated disc in his back.

"We're going to play him," Roberts said of Verdugo. "We have a lot of outfield options. But I do want to see Alex take at-bats and get out there."

Left-handed-hitting Cody Bellinger also has played the outfield, but he is expected to play primarily at first base with Adrian Gonzalez on the bench. Lefty Joc Pederson, demoted to Triple-A Oklahoma City to work on a new batting stance, will be recalled later.

"Joc's going to stay, whether to finish the season or a day or two early," Roberts said. "It's more to give him continuous at-bats. From the reports, the last couple of days have been better. To build on that momentum, it's best for Joc."

Verdugo is hitting .314 with six home runs and 62 RBIs. He has played all three outfield positions this year. He is ranked by as the club's No. 2 prospect -- behind pitcher Walker Buehler -- and No. 28 in all of baseball. Verdugo was the target of several teams in trade talks last month.

Brock Stewart also will be recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City to start the day game of Saturday's doubleheader in San Diego. Roberts said that Wilmer Font, named Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Year, is "definitely in the conversation" for a September callup, and Font's agent tweeted that he was getting recalled.

Font, 27, appeared in the Major Leagues with Texas in 2012 and '13, and like Verdugo, he would need to be added to the 40-man roster.

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.