With six capable starters and only three outfield positions available, finding time for the group of players has on occasion been a juggling act for Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly. Some decisions were made easier, such as when Carl Crawford and Yasiel Puig were both on the disabled list with their respective injuries.
Mattingly now has a full complement of outfielders at his disposal and he recently indicated it will translate to Carl Crawford starting at least one game of every series. Whereas Andre Ethier was more times than not the odd man out over the last two seasons, the pendulum has swung to Yasiel Puig’s name.
With Puig expected to be given more days off than he presumably is accustomed to, Mattingly said he explained the situation to his dynamic outfielder and the two had a positive conversation, according to ESPN’s Mark Saxon:
I just let him know that he’s not just going to automatically be out of there against righties. He’s going to be in there, it’s just occasional days off,” Mattingly said. “I know a couple have come here recently as we want to mix Carl back in. He seemed to be OK with it. He didn’t look like he was ready to hit me or anything.”
Crawford’s and Puig’s absence created a window of opportunity for Ethier and he capitalized. Puig’s season has very much been stop and go in terms of success, both prior to and after his hamstring injury.
On the season he’s batting .246/.319/.417 with eight home runs and 29 RBIs over 64 games played. Since July 1, he has a .181 batting average and has recorded only four hits in his last eight games played.
While Puig has been inconsistent at the plate, his defense and electric arm have remained a positive for the Dodgers. Crawford meanwhile has appeared in 13 games since being reinstated from the 60-day DL and is batting .174/.208/.217 in 25 plate appearances over that stretch.