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Touted prospect, Minors slugger homer in win

Touted prospect, Minors slugger homer in win

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Two Dodgers slugged home runs on Friday.

Joc Pederson, 21, is rated one of the top two prospects in the organization, depending on the source, is the son of a former Dodger and was signed for $1.5 million to pass on a scholarship to USC. Don Mattingly often says he loves Pederson's swing.

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Clint Robinson is not Pederson. He's 29, signed to a Minor League contract, now in his eighth professional season that includes a four-game cup of coffee with Kansas City in 2012. The homer Robinson hit Friday was not his first in a spring game, he said.

"I'm letting them know who I am," said Robinson, a left-handed power-hitting first baseman who figures to be Triple-A insurance if anything happens to Adrian Gonzalez, a left-handed power-hitting first baseman and now a Dodgers fixture.

"You never know what can happen," Robinson said. "Any time you sign as a free agent, the goal is to show you can help the big league team out."

Robinson has an impressive 123 career Minor League home runs, but all that's earned him are four Major League at-bats. Why?

"You're asking the wrong guy," Robinson said. "A lot of it is being in the right place at the right time. I was with Kansas City a long time and it just didn't happen. I just play and never give up and do the best I can."

Robinson's path in Kansas City was blocked by Eric Hosmer and Billy Butler, and now by Gonzalez. Pederson is a longshot to make the Dodgers coming out of camp, although Matt Kemp will open the season on the disabled list, and that will open an outfield spot.

"We've got a good feeling what Joc can become," said Mattingly. "The guy needs to continue to play and get better making adjustments. Experience can't be bought."

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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