Dodgers manager Don Mattingly pulled rookie Yasiel Puig in the fifth inning of of Wednesday’s 4-0 win against the Chicago Cubs. While Mattingly would not explain the exact cause of the decision, he called it a “disciplinary” move.
Following the game, Mattingly and general manager Ned Colletti pulled Puig into the managers office for a 30 minute chat.
After the meeting, Yasiel Puig said he was pulled over questions about his defensive readiness. Speaking in Spanish through a translator, Puig said: “I always give my best but, honestly, today there was some fatigue and I wasn’t prepared.”
Asking about his coach’s decision to pull him, Puig responded:
“The meeting was good. He explained what every ballplayer has to do on the field, not only me but every ballplayer. We have to give 100 percent on the field, even if we’re tired or if we’re playing in games like today. We’ve got to give 100 percent to help the team. If I’m in the lineup Friday I’ll give my best effort and if not I’ll wait until I can help.”
It was a frustrating game for Puig, who in the first inning went into second base standing instead of attempting to break up a double play attempt. The Cubs turned the double play and Hanley Ramirez proceeded to hit a solo home run. After a third inning strikeout, Puig slammed his bat into the turf and then sluggishly headed into right field to play defense.
Speaking about his player’s lack of enthusiasm and outbursts, Mattingly said:
“All those things could be true and maybe they all could possibly lead to what went on today, but really, more than anything, it always gets back, to me, to Skip gave us a better chance. I love these guys. I love all my players and I see the good in all of them, and it’s my responsibility, I feel like, to give us the best chance to win and make decisions based on what’s best for the whole team.”
This isn’t Puig’s first warning, Last week he violated a team rule when he showed up late to the clubhouse. That rule violation led to a fine. Puig was benched for the next game, but Mattingly says the late arrival and benching were not related.
Dodgers players have complained publicly about Puig’s lazy and reckless base running and his inability to hit cutoff men.
Several veteran players on the Dodgers have complained, either publicly or privately, about the repetition of some of Puig’s youthful mistakes, such as an inability to hit cutoff men and sometimes-reckless baserunning.
Mattingly believes Puig will be back in Friday night’s starting lineup against the San Diego Padres.