The Los Angeles Dodgers haven’t played a game in the United States and outfielder Yasiel Puig is already making waves. While he went 3-10 with a double, two RBI and one run scored in the two-game series in Australia, it was his base running mistakes and apparent back injury that made headlines.
In the second game at the Sydney Cricket Ground, Puig got thrown out between first and second in the third inning and between second and third in the sixth inning. After striking out in the ninth inning, Puig was lifted from the game in the bottom of the inning and afterwards Don Mattingly expressed frustration about the 23-year-old outfielder complaining about injuries after a strikeout.
On the Dan Patrick show this morning, Dodgers owner Magic Johnson talked about his role in helping Puig mature:
You just want to make sure that he continues to grow, develop and mature. Getting caught going over the speed limit, we don’t want to see that happen anymore. We’ll go with the mistakes he makes because with every mistake, he’s making great plays. I think every young player has to learn how to mature and grow and learn how to be a professional. Puig is unbelievable. We love him, the fans love him. Don has done a wonderful job with him and continue to help develop Puig into what we think he can be.
Patrick made no mention of the article from Mark Saxson of ESPNLA.com with quotes from Mattingly as it was more of a general question about Puig’s maturity. It was a busy off-season for the outfielder as Magic referred to as he was arrested for the second time in eight months for reckless driving.
While he finished second in the NL Rookie of the Year voting, Puig made waves last year with his bat flips, base running mistakes and trying to throw out each runner that tested his arm. As Magic alluded to, with every spectacular play Puig makes there seems to be a few plays that make you scratch your head.
Mattingly talked about taking the good with the bad last year in regards to Puig as the Dodgers continue to try and help him grow as a player on the field.
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