Yasiel Puig benched for not sliding, loafing in outfield (Video)
Yasiel Puig has been an outstanding player for the Los Angeles Dodgers since being called up in June, but he has also been immature and committed many small mistakes. His teammates have called him out for his poor fundamentals, such as not hitting the cutoff man on throws or making baserunning mistakes. On Wednesday, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly decided he’d had enough of Puig’s immaturity and benched the talented 22-year-old.
Mattingly pulled Puig before the fifth inning and would not explain why after the game, only saying that he felt Skip Schumaker gave the team a better chance of winning at the time, which is as comical of an explanation as it sounds. But it doesn’t take much to figure out what Puig did to set off Mattingly.
Batting leadoff, Puig drew a walk in the first. Carl Crawford then hit into a 4-6-3 double-play that might have been avoided had Puig slid into second in an attempt to break up the play. The next batter was Hanley Ramirez, who hit a solo home run that would otherwise have been a 2-run shot. Puig also slammed his bat after striking out in the third. Then the last we saw, he made two nonchalant catches in right field for the first and last out in the top of the fourth. Schumaker replaced him in right field after that.
Dodgers pitcher Ricky Nolasco, who struck out 11 for the win, said Puig’s behavior was unacceptable.
“What he did today wasn’t acceptable,” Nolasco said of Puig. “He’s young, he’s going to have to learn. It’s not going to be a distraction. He’s going to help this team way more than what he did.”
Puig seemed to blame his laziness on being tired and said after the game he agreed with Mattingly’s decision to bench him.
“I wasn’t prepared well for each pitch. It was a good decision,” Puig said through a translator after the game, via the Associated Press. “He mentioned Skip could come in and do a better job.”
Credit Mattingly for properly disciplining Puig. Maybe the embarrassment of being pulled mid-game will get Puig’s attention. And credit Puig for admitting he deserved to be pulled. Now hopefully he’ll modify his behavior.