Yasiel Puig thinks he could return to Dodgers lineup Saturday
Yasiel Puig will be out of the Dodgers lineup for the third consecutive game on Friday as he remains sidelined with a strained left hamstring.
However, Puig said he expects to play Saturday in the second game of the three-game series against the Colorado Rockies.
“One more day,” Puig said in Spanish.
Puig tested his hamstring by running sprints under the supervision of trainer Stan Conte.
“I’m fine,” he said, adding that he didn’t think he would have to be placed on the 15-day disabled list.
Asked whether he would be available to pinch hit on Friday, Puig replied, “No, they won’t need me. The guys will win, and I won’t have to go in as a substitute. They’ll win fast. But if they need me, yes.”
With Puig unavailable, Andre Ethier will start in right field for the third consecutive game. Ethier was a combined three for seven with a home run in the last two games.
Manager Don Mattingly described Puig’s situation in less optimistic terms, saying the right fielder still felt something in his hamstring.
While Mattingly said Puig might be available to pinch hit, he downplayed Puig’s chances of playing Saturday.
“We really needed to run him pretty good to see where he’s at,” Mattingly said. “If that went really well, we probably would have talked tomorrow. Not quite sure if we’re there at this point now.”
Mattingly didn’t entirely dismiss the possibility of Puig landing on the disabled list.
“Obviously, I hope not,” he said. “It doesn’t seem like that.”
Mattingly said he preferred to not use Puig as a substitute Friday.
“For me, the danger in doing that is the first step out of the box. Get a ball in a hole, you’re looking to beat it out,” Mattingly said.
Puig isn’t scheduled to undergo an MRI exam, according to Mattingly.
Friday will mark Yasmani Grandal’s first time catching Clayton Kershaw in a regular-season game. Grandal caught Kershaw in two exhibition games this spring.
The game could also be left-hander Adam Liberatore’s first ever in the major leagues. Liberatore, who didn’t give up a run in the entire exhibition season, was called up from triple-A Oklahoma City. He replaced Carlos Frias, who was optioned to Oklahoma City the previous day.
The Dodgers lineup:
Jimmy Rollins SS
Carl Crawford LF
Adrian Gonzalez 1B
Howie Kendrick 2B
Yasmani Grandal C
Andre Ethier RF
Juan Uribe 3B
Joc Pederson CF
Clayton Kershaw P
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