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Dodgers' Don Mattingly: Yasiel Puig 'best right fielder in baseball'

Don MattinglyMatt KempAndre Ethier
Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly says Yasiel Puig 'dominates right field'
Yasiel Puig's speed and throwing arm are difference makers, taking away hits and intimidating baserunners

How far do the Dodgers think Yasiel Puig has come in right field?

All the way, and then some.

“We feel like right now, Yasiel is the best right fielder in baseball,”  Manager Don Mattingly said. “This guy dominates right field.”

Maybe he insists on catching the ball one-handed. And on the wrong side to make a throw. Maybe there are times he still likes to show off his howitzer of an arm.

But he is also explosively fast and covers more territory than the Rocky Mountains. He’s fearless and willing to dive for anything. If he’s learned what a cutoff man is, he can still unleash a missile to third. And the mere threat of that arm freezes numerous baserunners closing in on second and thinking of third.

“The way he plays right field, he really stops the running game from first to third,” Mattingly said.

With Matt Kemp now learning to play left and Andre Ethier the primary center fielder, Mattingly was asked Monday if the Dodgers were again thinking about giving Puig a look in center.

“The whole goal of our team is to put our best club out there and play our best defense,” Mattingly said. “If we move Yasiel to center, then we’ve weakened ourselves in right and he has to make an adjustment to center and we don’t know if he’s going to be the best center fielder. We feel like we have the best right fielder in baseball right now.”

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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Don MattinglyMatt KempAndre Ethier
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