Caught in a five-for-34 slump, Yasiel Puig received a rare day off from Dodgers Manager Dave Roberts on Saturday.
“I thought he needed a day to clear his mind,” Roberts said before his team faced San Diego. “It’s not the body, because we’ve given him days off. I think he’s just trying to do a little bit too much.”
Puig is not the only Dodger stuck in the hitting doldrums, but his recent descent has likely had the largest effect on the lineup. Puig looked reborn during the first week of the season, working the count and punishing opposing pitchers. He has demonstrated less discipline during the rest of April.
Roberts also kept struggling veteran Howie Kendrick out of the lineup. Kendrick hit a single off the bench Friday, which raised his batting average to .151.
Kendrick has never slumped across an entire month to this degree. His on-base-plus-slugging percentage heading into Saturday was .318. In his 11 big league seasons, his previous month-long nadir occurred in May 2009, when his OPS was .504.
Roberts hoped Kendrick could rebound next week, when the team will face some left-handed pitchers in Tampa Bay and Toronto. Kendrick could also play as the designated hitter in those American League games.
“He’s going to get his at-bats,” Roberts said. “And there’s a fine line, because you want to give guys at-bats to play. But also, sometimes, to take a step back from performing night in and night out can be beneficial. So that’s my hope.”
Kenta Maeda will not make his next start until Friday, when the Dodgers visit the Blue Jays. The team wanted Maeda, a right-handed pitcher who shined in his first month in the majors, to face Toronto’s right-handed gantlet of hitters like Josh Donaldson, Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion.
Left-hander Alex Wood will start in Maeda’s place Wednesday in Tampa Bay. The Dodgers can manipulate the rotation because of days off Monday and Thursday.
Brandon McCarthy and Hyun-Jin Ryu take the mound
Brandon McCarthy (elbow ligament-replacement surgery) and Hyun-Jin Ryu (shoulder surgery) threw bullpen sessions Saturday afternoon. McCarthy threw about 50 pitches and Ryu threw about 40, Roberts said. Ryu could face hitters in a simulated game next week.
Follow Andy McCullough on Twitter: @McCulloughTimes
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