Yasiel Puig understanding of Dodgers’ decision to bench him for Game 4
Yasiel Puig said he understood why Manager Don Mattingly removed him from the lineup Tuesday for Game 4 of the Dodgers’ National League division series against the St. Louis Cardinals.
“We have to win this game,” he said in Spanish. “I’m not working well on the field against St. Louis. I’ve played very poorly in this series.”
Puig admitted his right ankle has been bothering him “for some time,” but downplayed the effect it had on his performance in this series.
“I have a problem with my ankle, but I had to continue playing because we have to advance to the next round,” he said.
Puig said he played through the discomfort down the final stretch of the regular season because he was hitting. He batted .339 in his final 15 regular-season games.
“When I go to look for the ball, my first step bothers me,” he said. “But I’m receiving treatment.”
Puig has struck out eight times in his last nine at-bats. In the Dodgers’ 3-1 defeat Monday night, he tripled to end a streak of seven consecutive strikeouts.
Asked if he thought that triple would help him emerge from his slump, Puig laughed and replied, “It helped but I struck out in my next at-bat.”
Puig said his slump is a credit to the Cardinals’ pitching.
“They’ve pitched me from the middle of the plate to the outside,” he said. “I knew they would do that, but I haven’t been able to connect.”
Puig was hit by a pitch delivered by Adam Wainwright in his second at-bat of the series. Asked if that affected him, Puig replied, “The times they’ve struck me out and the at-bats in which I failed to get a hit have nothing to do with when they hit me in the first game. I don’t know. Maybe I’m speeding up too much because I want my team to win and advance to the World Series.”
Puig said Mattingly didn’t talk to him about his decision to start Andre Ethier in his place in center field.
“I don’t need him to talk to me about it,” Puig said.
Puig said he will support his teammates.
“I have to cheer my team from the dugout and hope Ethier does his job like he always does,” Puig said.
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