PITTSBURGH — Manager Don Mattingly said he expects Yasiel Puig to remain in the major leagues for the remainder of the season.
Even when Matt Kemp and Carl Crawford return from the disabled list, Mattingly thinks there will continue to be enough at-bats for both Puig and Andre Ethier.
“I think there’s enough playing time for everybody in the outfield,” Mattingly said.
Puig started the season at double-A Chattanooga because of overcrowding in the outfield.
In the absence of Kemp and Crawford, Ethier has moved from right field to center. Puig has played in right.
Mattingly anticipates playing Ethier in center field when Kemp needs a day off. Kemp could be taking regularly scheduled days off when he returns, as Hanley Ramirez and Mark Ellis have since coming back from leg injuries.
Mattingly likes what he has seen from Ethier in center field.
“The jumps he gets and reads are really good,” Mattingly said. “Obviously, when Matt comes back, he plays center. We just have to work it out.”
When Crawford takes a day off, Puig would likely start in left field.
Mattingly acknowledged there are no guarantees that Puig will continue to hit when pitchers start making adjustments to him.
“But this is a talented kid that I feel is going to make adjustments,” Mattingly said.
Puig will also require occasional days off.
“As hard as he plays, he’s going to get nicked and banged too,” Mattingly said.
Mattingly said he probably wouldn’t consider platooning the right-handed-hitting Kemp and the left-handed-hitting Ethier in center field, even though both players have underperformed this season.