Yasiel Puig, it’s called the bench.
Must seem like a fairly strange place for the excitable rookie, what with him having appeared in almost every game since he was called up June 3.
But there he is to start Tuesday’s game in Miami, out of the lineup for the first time since he joined the Dodgers and actually is healthy.
Manager Don Mattingly, concerned for his frequent blunders throwing and running, said earlier that Puig might benefit from a day off to sit back and simply watch the game.
So maybe there is a bit of a lesson here, or maybe it’s simply because he’s in his first slump. Puig has just three hits in his last 24 at-bats (.125, corrected) without a walk, and did not look very good Monday in going 0 for 5 with a pair of strikeouts.
Puig had not started four previous games this season, but they were for minor injuries and he pinch-hit in two of them.
But he’s proving a difficult student, frequently repeating the same fundamental mistakes. He has been thrown out 12 times on the bases, either picked off or attempting to steal.
Puig is a bundle of raw talent, but honing it at the major league level following only one real year in the minors after defecting from Cuba, is proving an ongoing challenge for the Dodgers.
Mattingly has frequently spoken of that fine line he has to walk in allowing Puig to play aggressively, without his being reckless. It’s probably just a day, but the way he’s been at the plate, it can’t hurt, intended lesson or no.