Los Angeles Dodgers star outfielder Yasiel Puig may have ignited his team’s amazing run to the playoffs in the 2013 Major League season with his no-holds-barred style of all-out baseball, but when he brings his high-octane approach to the highways, he’s in trouble.
Puig was arrested for reckless driving after cops clocked the Cuban defector rocketing along at 110 mph in a 70 mph zone of Interstate 75 in Florida, that state’s Naples News newspaper reports.
Police stopped him at 9:30 in the morning Saturday. They held him in Collier County Jail until about 1 pm, when Puig was released on a $500 cash bond. It is unclear who paid the bond for Puig.
The ESPN.com web site attempted to get a reaction from the Dodgers organization about Puig’s latest automotive issue, but a team spokesperson offered no comment. The bust was the second speeding violation of the year for the 6’3″, 235-pound sensation, who turned only 23 on December 7.
In April, while playing for Los Angeles’ minor-league affiliate at the Double-A level in Tennessee, he was stopped for driving 97 mph in a 50 mph zone. At the time, he was charged with speeding, reckless driving, and operating a motor vehicle without proof of insurance. But charges were dropped just two months ago, in part because Puig performed community service while playing for the Dodgers in Los Angeles.
Puig, who played baseball in Cuba’s major league until he attempted to defect to the U.S., finally completed his defection in April of 2012, picked up by the coast guard wearing just a beat-up shirt, shorts, and flip-flops, according to an account of the incident on Yahoo! Sports. But his days of poverty were short-lived once he arrived.
A mere two months after arriving in the United States with the shirt on his back and a few possessions in a garbage bag, he signed a seven-year, $42 million contract with the Dodgers that included a signing bonus of $12 million.
Puig collected a salary of $2 million in 2013. He was driving a 2013 Mercedes-Benz when he was stopped in Florida’s “Alligator Alley” section of freeway Saturday morning.
He played his first big league game on June 3 of this year and was an immediate success. His .319 batting average and.534 slugging percentage with 19 home runs in 104 games was a key to reversing the Dodgers’ then-disappointing season.
The team was 31 and 42 on June 21, but led by Puig, Los Angeles won 46 of their next 56 games, won the National League West Division and advanced to the NL Championship Series before losing in six games to the St. Louis Cardinals, barely missing out on a chance to face the Boston Red Sox in the World Series.