Since exploding on to the scene in June of 2013, there’s been little Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig can do while going unnoticed. Whether streaking or slumping, all eyes are often on Puig.
So naturally when Puig was spotted taking early batting practice with Dodgers hitting coach Mark McGwire some four hours prior to first pitch on Thursday, it drew plenty of attention. “I come early all the time to get some work in and hope things will turn around for me,” Puig said through a translator after going 2-for-4 with a home run, double and four RBIs. “And that’s what I’ll keep on doing.”
Puig has been limited to 40 games this season and struggled over the last 10. He acknowledged it’s been far from smooth sailing. “Things didn’t start out great for me between my hamstring injury, then my hand, then my eyes,” he said. “Those are some setbacks, but I have to keep working hard and get past all these setbacks.”
As for the idea and perception he’s not one willing to put in extra work and is prone to reporting after expected, Puig showed a keen sense of the state of sports journalism. “How is anyone going to read your stories if you guys can’t tell everyone I arrive late?,” he asked.
“You probably just have to do that so people keep clicking on your stories. Whether I arrive early or arrive late, that’s what happens.” Puig went on to attest the early work is par for course. “I come in early everyday to work with [assistant hitting coach John] Valentin or McGwire,” he said.
“The thing is, a lot of the times I’m hitting in the cages, so you guys don’t necessarily see that. You think I’m not out there working, but it’s just the fact that I’m in the cages. As long as those guys know I’m putting in the work, I’m okay.” Puig this season is batting .278/.359/.457 with four home runs and 14 RBIs.
Moreover, Puig’s 18.8 percent strikeout rate is the lowest it’s been over his young career and 10 percent walk rate trails only the 10.5 percent rate he posted last season.
Zack Greinke On Scoreless Innings Streak