Yasiel Puig tries batting leadoff for Dodgers

Yasiel Puig tries batting leadoff for Dodgers
Dodgers right fielder Yasiel Puig hits a broken-bat single against the Arizona Diamondbacks in Cactus League play Wednesday. Puig batted in the leadoff spot against the San Diego Padres on Sunday. (Mike McGinnis / Getty Images)

PHOENIX — Five games into the exhibition season, Yasiel Puig batted leadoff for the first time. He figures to do that a lot more this year, as Manager Don Mattingly said he is thinking of batting Puig first this year.

"I like him getting that extra at-bat," Mattingly said.


Under that scenario, Carl Crawford would probably bat second, Hanley Ramirez third and Adrian Gonzalez cleanup. Puig and Ramirez bat right-handed; Crawford and Gonzalez bat left-handed.

As a rookie last season, Puig batted leadoff seven times. He hit second 51 times and fourth 17 times.

"I'll feel comfortable wherever the team wants to put me," Puig said. "I'll give the best of me whether I'm hitting first, second, wherever."

Mattingly said he believes Puig will eventually be a middle-of-the order hitter. But with Ramirez and Gonzalez on the team, Mattingly doesn't want to move Puig into that role before he might be ready.

"Quite honestly, he hasn't proven himself to be an RBI guy yet," Mattingly said. "With men in scoring position, he's emotional still. He needs to learn to slow down with men in scoring position. You see in those situations, he gets excited."

Puig batted .234 with men in scoring position last year. With the bases empty, he hit .357.

Puig reported to camp this year weighing 251 pounds, about 10 pounds heavier than what the Dodgers consider his optimal weight. But team officials don't seem worried. Puig is only 23 and presumably capable of dropping weight easily. Puig said his weight wouldn't be a problem.

"I feel the same," he said. "I'll do my work and do what I have to do on the field."

Puig is batting .222 this spring.

Holding pattern

Zack Greinke was limited to playing catch for the third consecutive day and officially scratched from his start Tuesday, further decreasing his chances of pitching in the season-opening series in Australia.

"He came in feeling about the same," Mattingly said of Greinke, who has lingering problems with a strained right calf muscle. "We're still going to be cautious with him going forward."

Mattingly wouldn't, or couldn't, provide a timetable for when Greinke might again throw off the mound or pitch in a game.

The right kind of soreness


Chad Billingsley felt tightness in his forearm Saturday evening after throwing breaking balls off a mound for the first time since he underwent surgery last year. Naturally, he was concerned.

But Billingsley didn't feel any worse the next morning and was told by trainers what he was experiencing was normal.

"I've never had surgery in the elbow," Billingsley said. "You almost forget what it's like to throw, the soreness and stuff."

In addition to adding breaking balls, this was the first bullpen session in which Billingsley threw 30 consecutive pitches. In his previous sessions, he threw three sets of 15 pitches.

Billingsley said he remains in line to throw his next bullpen session on Tuesday.

Short hops

Justin Sellers, who was designated for assignment last week, was sold to the Cleveland Indians. Sellers, 28, was the Dodgers' opening-day shortstop last year. … Non-roster first baseman Clint Robinson has opened some eyes this camp. Mattingly said Robinson's swing reminds him of former batting champion John Olerud's. Robinson is six for 11 with a home run and three runs scored in five games. … The Dodgers signed the 15 players on their 40-man roster who were previously unsigned, including Dee Gordon, Paco Rodriguez and Scott Van Slyke.

Twitter: @dylanohernandez