Posted August 28, 2013

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly benches Yasiel Puig for disciplinary reasons

Los Angeles Dodgers, Yasiel Puig
Yasiel Puig's play in the Dodgers' outfield has been somewhat lackadaisical of late. (Chris Williams/Icon SMI)

Yasiel Puig’s play in the Dodgers’ outfield has been somewhat lackadaisical of late. (Chris Williams/Icon SMI)

Yasiel Puig’s afternoon was a short one on Wednesday, as Dodgers manager Don Mattingly replaced him in right field with Skip Schumaker at the top of the fifth inning. You knew, when Mattingly initially offered his reasoning, that something was going unsaid. “I felt like at that point in the game, Skip gave us a better chance to win,” Mattingly explained. Schumaker might be many things, but his is not the type of talent that usually leads a manager to yank one of baseball’s top phenoms halfway through a game — a player who, notes the Elias Sports Bureau, just reached 100 career hits in just 285 at-bats, faster than any other active player except Ichiro Suzuki.

Ricky Nolasco — who continued his outstanding run as a Dodger, by the way, pitching eight shutout innings against the Cubs in which he struck out 11 and allowed just three hits — said cryptically, of Puig, “He knows what he did.”

Soon it emerged that the reason for Puig’s benching was disciplinary. In the first inning, he failed to slide into second to attempt to break up a double play, and he also lackadaisically caught a few balls in the outfield and seemed a bit unfocused out there. Those might not normally constitute benching-worthy offenses, but they came on the heels of several other mildly irksome incidents, including his being fined for arriving late for a game in Miami last week, and Mattingly apparently had seen enough.

After the game, and a closed door meeting with Mattingly and G.M. Ned Colletti, Puig told reporters that he recognized that he wasn’t preparing properly in the outfield, and that it was a good decision to take him out. The Dodgers have done a fine job handling the Cuban-born Puig — who, after all, is just 22 years old, and is having to adjust to not just an entirely new league and style of baseball, but an entirely new culture and set of freedoms — by using a strategy of gentle course correction, as opposed to heavy-handed discipline, when he veers off onto the rumble strips. That’s really all that Wednesday’s benching will likely amount to.

24 comments
WilyCoyoteSuperGenius
WilyCoyoteSuperGenius

Puig and Rameriz are the only reason the Dodgers are above .500. Keep pissing him off Mattingly - and in the off-season watch him hold out for a new contract. If I was this kid, play with Softy Gonzalez and Crippled Carl Crawford at $22 million plus each I sure would. Not to mention Either and Kemp.

ineedataxi
ineedataxi

He should play for Leyland. He doesn't hold anyone accountable for anything !!

jackgorfin
jackgorfin

Leave the guy alone, he is putting up numbers, what else do you want.

Steve Phillips
Steve Phillips

Great case to give Arrenado the rookie of the year award!

benderclb
benderclb

The move was proper, for the umpiers missed the call when Puig caught the ball and then a few moments later flung the ball into the stands. The out should have been a home run, as he never removed the ball from his glove.

lionoah
lionoah

How many dudes start out that way and you hear about them being a good guy after all? He is immensely talented, but obviously, he left the humility back in Cuba. It's shame really. YOu would think that the most fortunate of us (those born with the gifts to succeed) would be the ones who are most grateful...

All that said, he is 22. Extremely young to be famous and I'm sure he's got a lot on his plate. He has some maturing to do and he may yet develop some. Of course, if he's pulling the same stunts in a few years then we can make the judgement. Until then, folks need to give him a chance. Bryce Harper comes to mind too, and an injury or two has seemed to slow him down just a bit. Everything that 1000 of us will work a lifetime to achieve given (I'm sure he put in some work to get there) to him at 22? Honestly, I wouldn't want that responsibility.

morphy
morphy

too much publicity and free puzzy in LA. this guy is toast.

Disbott3000
Disbott3000

You never see Fredi Gonzalez having to bench Freddie Freeman for disciplinary reasons.

lassenlou
lassenlou

Saw Puig in SF. He is a great talent, but it is clear that there is not enough mustard available to cover the hot dog in him. For the sake of him and the game, I really hope that someone can get through to him that baseball is a game that requires at least a minimum ability to act like a grown up.

WHO*IS*ESPN
WHO*IS*ESPN

so sad, banana boat boy didn't get his way.

beercrackin'g8r
beercrackin'g8r

Better curb that behavior before he starts chillin' w/gang members, dosin' on pcp, and totin' a firearm due to paranoia.

friendly--neighborhood--scrawler
friendly--neighborhood--scrawler

Way to go Dodgers !!!   A great way to show respect to a man who almost single handedly pull your team from the mucky gutters you were flounder in all the season

RaidLakeDodge
RaidLakeDodge

I like the move. These are situations that will only make Puig a better player if he is open (which it sounds like he is). Can't wait to see the player he becomes as he continues to mature!

Mark112
Mark112

Puig is already proving that he's incapable of handling success. He'd be much better off, psychologically, on a small market team like the Royals, but with everyone in LA treating him like a God (or like ManRam from five years ago) Puig is believing that he's above the game, his teammates and the Dodger organization. Tommy Lasorda is going to have to take over the entire organization; he's the only one with any backbone that's left.

JoeCabot
JoeCabot

@Disbott3000 Most guys in baseball don't get benched for disciplinary reasons.  What is your point?

ctw
ctw

@lassenlou  could not have said it better.   22 is considered an adult.  It's not like he is a 12 year old.

John64
John64

@WHO*IS*ESPN   banana boat? wha'chu talking crazy? He is a political refugee. There is nothing that you can do to him that Castro hasn't already done. So say goodnight to the bad guy... you never seen a bad guy like this... 

Brett_Buck
Brett_Buck

@Mark112 It appears Donny Baseball knows what to do just fine. He's not going to put up with this cr*p from anyone. The kid has gone from almost complete obscurity to the biggest showcase in sports, he's going to need guidance and a swift kick now and then. We'll see. 

friendly--neighborhood--scrawler
friendly--neighborhood--scrawler

@NickWright

It has nothing to do with bad behavior , they will look pass it if you are important enough, that message was not for Puig but to the other players. example Manziel too important to suspend TV wise but Puig sitting a game does not hurt anything. So please save your high and mighty crap, it all comes down to the all mighty dollar.

JoeCabot
JoeCabot

@DODGERFAIL2013 The only point I can gather is that you like Freddie Freeman and decided to write a post about him to show the world your feelings.   Would have been a good post.   If it was written after an article on the Braves and/or Freddie Freeman.