Dodgers prospect hits for the cycle
Pedroza is first in Loons history to perform feat
Jaime Pedroza finally got his swing back.
The Great Lakes Loons second baseman entered Friday mired in a 1-for-13 slump over his last four games. He wasn't seeing the ball well and couldn't find a rhythm at the plate.
To fix the problem, he tried to simplify his approach.
"My one plan tonight was to go up and hit the ball hard," he said. "That's the only thing that was going through my mind. That was my whole approach going into every at-bat."
The 22-year-old broke out of his slump in a big way, hitting for the cycle in the Loons' 16-4 thrashing of the West Michigan Whitecaps.
"When I'm seeing the ball well, I'm able to do a lot of damage, and it felt good to be back to my old self," he said.
Pedroza became the first Loon to hit for the cycle, making history for the second time this season after becoming the first player in the franchise's brief existence to record a five-hit game on April 30. That performance sparked a 10-game hitting streak -- he hit safely in 16 of 17 contests -- and helped him become one of seven Loons to be named Midwest League All-Stars on Friday.
"Every year I play I want to be one of the best. And to make it on the All-Star team is just another plus to my career," Pedroza said.
The 2007 ninth-round pick put Great Lakes on the board early with a two-run homer in the first inning. He knocked off the hardest part of the cycle with a triple leading off the third and later scored on a wild pitch.
Pedroza picked up a single with a well-placed bunt in the fifth, which is when started to think he had a chance at the cycle.
In the sixth, he got under a pitch and popped out to second base. He focused on staying on top of the ball in his next at-bat and capped the cycle with a double to right field in the seventh.
"I felt numb," said Pedroza, who is hitting .289 with 15 doubles, eight homers and 33 RBIs in 52 games. "The whole dugout was going crazy. It's such a great feeling, especially when you get a 'W' out of it."
While Pedroza chased the cycle, Loons hitting coach Michael Boughton tried to keep him loose.
"You know what you've got to do, baby. You know what you've got to do," Boughton said each time the youngster stepped into the batter's box.
"He's funny, he's always messing around," said Pedroza, who grew up a Dodgers fan in Riverside, Calif.
However, he also spent a lot of time at San Francisco Giants games. When he was selected by Los Angeles out of UC-Riverside, his allegiances were cemented. Right no, however, he finds himself a long way from home.
"One thing I've learned is I have no control over where I'm going to be," he said. "The best thing I can do is go out and play hard and put up some good numbers. Everything else will take care of itself."
Pedroza has found his swing and, for now, that's all he cares about.
Mason Kelley is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.