We’re only two games into the season, and “Puig fatigue” is in full effect in Chavez Ravine (at least when they get back). Despite what could only be considered a completely successful road trip to Sydney, Australia, (2-0), Puig’s antics during the two games drew some reactions from his manager and teammates. Mark Saxon of ESPNLosAngeles reports that Mattingly isn’t sure what to do with Puig’s “health issues” after he struck out in the 9th inning and didn’t return to the field:
Asked what injury caused Puig to leave Sunday’s game, Mattingly said, “I guess his back.” He then seemed to react sarcastically when asked about the severity of the injury. “Shoulder yesterday, back today, so I’m not sure if they’re going to get him tests or get him to the MRI Monday or a bone scan on Tuesday, maybe,” Mattingly said. “I’m not quite sure what we’ll do. We may not do anything. I’m not sure.” Before the game, Mattingly told reporters that Puig “grabs something every time he takes a swing and misses.”
Mattingly isn’t the only one who doesn’t seem to like Puig’s body language. Puig had a good game statistically (3-5, 2B, 2 RBI) but made bonehead plays on the basepaths. According to the same report, Adrian Gonzalez and Puig verbally sparred during and after the game:
After the first base running gaffe, Adrian Gonzalez grabbed Puig as he was leaving the field and talked to him. The two players were bantering loudly in Spanish in the Dodgers’ clubhouse following the game.
Puig also showed up to training camp 25 pounds heavier than his 2013 playing weight and looked disinterested in hitting, sporting a .122 Cactus League batting average before this series.
Needless to say, Puig has the physical tools to be one of the best in the game. But can Mattingly or his teammates get through to him that, in order for the team to be successful, he’s going to have to mentally check in?
– David Whitlock