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Joc Pederson continues hot spring with two-homer game against the Rockies

Pederson is 9-for-17 in seven games this spring with a team-leading five home runs.

Joc Pederson celebrates a home run with Cubs third base coach Willie Harris.
Joc Pederson celebrates a home run with Cubs third base coach Willie Harris.
John Antonoff/Chicago Sun-Times

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — You think Joc Pederson is enjoying being a Cub?

The left fielder continued his torrid spring Thursday, hitting a pair of homers against the Rockies — a two-run, opposite-field shot in the first inning and a towering solo blast in the third.

Pederson has been vocal this spring about his desire to show he can be an every-day player. If he carries this type of offense into the regular season, it’s going to be tough for manager David Ross to take him out.

“I know what type of player I am, and just getting opportunities is going to be good for me,’’ Pederson said last month. ‘‘I guess you could say I’ve got to prove some stuff to them, but I’m not out to prove it for anybody but myself.”

Pederson is 9-for-17 in seven games with a team-leading five home runs.

Strop sorry for violating virus protocols

Right-hander Pedro Strop met with the media after his time away from the team. Strop, 35, was required to isolate after he violated COVID-19 protocols.

The reliever went to dinner Friday with a group that included Indians outfielder Franmil Reyes, who also was required by MLB to isolate. The dinner took place at a restaurant indoors, which is not allowed.

“There’s no excuses,” Strop said. “I’m gonna start from there. There’s no excuse. I feel really bad. I just wanna take the chance to apologize to the fans, to my teammates, and especially to let them know that I do care about everybody.”

Last week, MLB adjusted COVID-19 protocols to allow players to take part in outdoor dining for the first time since the protocols were put in place last season.

“The pandemic being so long, sometimes you’re going through the motions and like, you go to dinner, but at the same time, we didn’t realize we were making a big mistake,” Strop said. “Going out to dinner where a lot of people were going in there. And like I said, there’s no excuse for that.

“We made a mistake, and we paid the price,” he said. “Good thing that it didn’t go farther. . . . We’re negative on the [COVID-19] test. But I don’t know if everybody’s going to have the same luck. So that’s why we should pay attention to the protocol.”

Strop signed a minor-league deal with the Cubs last month and is in camp as a non-roster invitee.