Yasiel Puig did not join his Dodgers teammates on the field during Thursday's first full-squad workout. He sat out after surgery Tuesday to remove wisdom teeth.
But Puig remains a consistent subject of conversation. He is still under investigation by Major League Baseball for his role in a November incident in a Miami bar. The league has yet to decide if Puig will face punishment, but Manager Dave Roberts indicated that the situation has not affected the start of camp.
"Yasiel, he's in a good place, mentally, physically," Roberts said Thursday. "I don't think it's a distraction. Speaking for the organization, it really isn't a distraction. When the commissioner makes that decision, we'll deal with that, at that point in time. At this point, it's really no concern of ours."
Roberts expected Puig to take part in workouts by Friday. Puig reported to camp last weekend. His physical condition impressed the team, which had asked him to trim his figure and reduce muscle mass. The Dodgers believed his bulk contributed to the hamstring injuries that hampered him last season.
Roberts met with Puig in January and promised him a "fresh start." Puig has embraced the offer, Roberts said.
"At this point, it's been great," Roberts said. "He's been open. He's been fun-loving. In the communicating with his teammates and the coaches and the will to want to get better — it's there. For me, that's all I know."
Roberts would not commit, at this early juncture, to Puig being an everyday player in the outfield. The team's other outfielders include Joc Pederson, Carl Crawford, Andre Ethier, Scott Van Slyke and Trayce Thompson.
Roberts praised Pederson's defense in center field, a hint at his staying power at the position. The organization could run a series of platoons at the corners. Or Puig could regain his form from 2013 and 2014, making himself indispensable.
"I do anticipate Yasiel being out there a lot," Roberts said. "When he's healthy and he's right, what he brings to a team is pretty special."
Update on TV situation
The Dodgers, entering a third season in which a majority of Southern California homes cannot see the team-owned SportsNet LA channel, are hopeful that Verizon FIOS customers will get the channel when Frontier Communications completes its purchase of FIOS in April. It is not believed that there are any active negotiations between Time Warner Cable and DirecTV.
TWC has been unable to sell SportsNet LA to any other major carrier beyond Charter Cable, which is in the process of buying TWC.