Yet Punto is playing so well and so hard that, coupled with injuries, he has become a regular in the Dodgers' lineup. He has appeared in all but one of their last 27 games, started in all but four.
And he's playing all over the infield. While starting 12 times at second base, 15 at third base and seven at shortstop, he's hit a team-high .323. He's hustled, he's played smart, he's provided a spark.
“I want to keep Nick healthy, but he’s playing so good and has given us so much energy, he’s really been hard to take out of the lineup,” said Manager
So Punto is back in the lineup Saturday, this time at third and leading off against left-hander John Cast. Punto is batting .464 against left-handers.
The Trabuco Hills High product doesn’t have enough at-bats (96) to qualify for the batting race, or he’d be seventh among hitters in the
“The real plan is to be able to mix him and
Mattingly doesn't want to wear out the 5-foot-9 Punto and is leery of playing him every day.
"He's playing more than he might need to, and I am worried about wearing him down," Mattingly said.