With the Dodgers’ brass still ensconced upstairs, the Dodgers’ spokesman on the story of Yasiel Puig’s incredible journey from Cuba to the United States remains Manager Don Mattingly.
Which is unfortunate, and unfair. Mattingly shouldn’t have to be the one to answer the media’s daily questions about Puig’s escape, yet the Dodgers' manager remains dangled out there alone.
The Dodgers returned home Friday for the first time since the story broke Sunday, and Mattingly was again left to meet the local media, cameras and newscasters at Dodger Stadium vainly attempting to gain any insight on Puig’s story.
They received nothing new, though Mattingly did allow in all his years in baseball, he’d never come across a story quite like this.
“Can’t say that I have,” he said. “But there’s been a lot of [Cuban] guys. I was there in New York with El Duque [Orlando Hernandez]. I don’t know his story or what happened. Or [Oakland’s Yoenis] Cespedes, any of the guys, I don’t know what happened. It seems like Yasiel is the first guy we got any info on.”
Here’s the rest of Friday’s brief Q&A; with Mattingly on Los Angeles Magazine’s revelations about Puig’s harrowing journey.
Does Mattingly plan to talk to Puig on any impact the story might have on him?
“I think Yasiel has put his statement out on how he feels about it. We’ve talked baseball, we’ve talked everything we need to talk about with him. Everything is where it should be between me and him, the baseball side of it. Anything above that is probably a better question for Stan or Ned or someone along those lines,” he said of team President Stan Kasten and General Manager Ned Colletti.
Has all the attention to the story seemed like a distraction?
“Doesn’t seem like it.”
Just how serious does he think the situation currently is?
“Honestly, from our standpoint on the inside, it seems like just normal. Nothing’s changed. Anything above that, if there’s anything being discussed I think, again, it’s a question for Stan or Ned what’s going on, anything extraordinary. But from our standpoint and the way everything looks and everything feels, it’s no different than it’s ever been.”
Has Puig’s demeanor changed?
“Nothing seems any different. He just seems the same.”