The Los Angeles Dodgers completed the Opening Series in Sydney, Australia with a 13-hit, 7-5 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks. Outfielder Yasiel Puig bounced back from an 0-5 effort as the leadoff hitter in the first game of the series with three hits, two RBI and one run scored in the second game.
With Dee Gordon starting in place of Justin Turner, Puig was moved to the second spot in the lineup and generally appeared more comfortable at the plate. However, following the game, manager Don Mattingly said Puig may undergo an MRI and bone scan on his back, according to Ken Gurnick of Dodgers.com:
Don Mattingly said Puig's back bothered him. Might have MRI and bone scan.
— Ken Gurnick (@kengurnick) March 23, 2014
Puig didn’t take the field for the ninth inning after an awkward swing in the top of the inning and the injury may be a lingering issue from the shoulder inflammation he dealt with during Spring Training. Perhaps as a result of the inflammation, the right-fielder struggled through Spring Training and hit just .122. If Puig is to miss extended time with a back injury, it may put the Dodgers in a difficult situation.
While Carl Crawford should be able to join the team upon their return to the United States and Scott Van Slyke has proven to be a capable outfielder, but neither are capable of impacting a game the way Puig is. Further complicating matters is the Dodgers long flight back to the U.S., which isn’t the most comfortable setting for someone who may be bothered by a bad back.
However, Puig might not get that MRI as Mattingly doesn’t seem to know what to believe via Gurnick:
I don’t know. He came out of the game, told Stan [Conte, trainer] something’s hurt, Mattingly said. He plays hard, gets hurt but bounces back. We’ll see how he is.
The Dodgers land in LA this afternoon before they prepare for a three-game Freeway Series against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim starting March 27. Whether or not Puig gets his back checked on remains to be seen, but it’s clear Mattingly is a bit frustrated with the fact that something always seems to be wrong.
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