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Yasiel Puig is benched again by Dodgers for lack of productivity

Yasiel Puig is benched again by Dodgers for lack of productivity
Dodgers right fielder Yasiel Puig prepares for his turn to bat during a game at Tampay Bay on Wednesday. (Mike Carlson / Getty Images)

The Dodgers had high hopes for Yasiel Puig this season. They made no significant improvements to their offensive personnel last winter, in part because they believed that a healthy Puig would be a resurgent Puig.

On Sunday, for the second time in seven games, the Dodgers benched him.

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Puig is batting .243 with three home runs and a .294 on-base percentage.

In his first 10 games, he batted .405, with five walks and six strikeouts in 37 at-bats. In 20 games since then, he has batted .162, with one walk and 20 strikeouts in 74 at-bats.

Dodgers Manager Dave Roberts said Puig is swinging at too many balls outside the strike zone and passive with too many balls inside the strike zone. He said the mechanics of Puig's swing are not at issue.

"It's tough to be too sound mechanically when you're swinging at balls outside the strike zone," Roberts said.

Puig ranks ninth among major leaguers in percentage of swings outside the strike zone but 163rd in making contact with those pitches, according to Fangraphs. Puig swings at 38.9% of pitches outside the strike zone.

Puig entered Sunday's game as a defensive replacement and singled in his only at-bat. Roberts said Puig would play Monday.

Meet the Mets

The Dodgers face the New York Mets on Monday, the first meeting between the teams since last year's division series. The Mets won that series, but Chase Utley said he doesn't spend a lot of time reflecting on it.

"You try to put every season behind you," he said, "and focus on the one at hand."

Then Utley flashed his veteran savvy, ending the interview before anyone could ask about a certain slide.

"Thanks, guys," he said.

If at first ...

Howie Kendrick played first base Sunday, so Adrian Gonzalez could serve as designated hitter and get one day off the artificial turf.

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Kendrick also has started this season at second base, third base, left field and designated hitter. He briefly entertained the idea of whether he would wish for one game in which he played one inning at each position.

"That'd be cool," he said. "But I never want to catch. Those are grown men back there."

Zero and holding

Ross Stripling pitched six innings and gave up one hit, walking none and striking out six. He got no decision.

He has a 3.82 earned-run average in his first six major league starts. He has won none of them.

"We'll get one eventually," he said. "We'll keep plugging along."

Stripling said that, as the Dodgers' injured pitchers return, he realizes he might be sent to triple A. Mike Bolsinger started a minor league rehabilitation assignment Saturday, and the Dodgers hope Brandon McCarthy and Hyun-Jin Ryu might follow within two weeks.

"I wouldn't say I worry about them," Stripling said. "I know they're there."

Pink out

As baseball celebrated Mother's Day, the Dodgers clubhouse was stocked with pink bats, pink undershirts, pink-accented uniform tops and pink cleats.

"I'm going to rock the Dusty Baker wristbands," Roberts said. "I don't know if the coaches get the pink spikes. That might be too much swag."

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