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Don Mattingly already frustrated with Yasiel Puig?

Yasiel PuigYasiel Puig seems like one of the more difficult personalities in baseball to manage. The Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder has tremendous athletic ability, but his attitude rubs plenty of people the wrong way. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly might be one of those people.

Puig has battled some nagging injuries during LA’s season-opening series against the Arizona Diamondbacks in Australia. He left Sunday’s 7-5 win in the ninth inning with an apparent back injury. Mattingly seemed annoyed.

“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 told reporters sarcastically, according to ESPNLosAngeles.com’s Marx Saxon. “I’m not quite sure what we’ll do. We may not do anything. I’m not sure.”

Prior to the game, Mattingly joked that Puig is like the boy who cries wolf because he grabs a different body part every time he swings and misses. Puig also had two baserunning mistakes on Sunday, which weren’t the first two of his career.

Puig did not have a good offseason. He was arrested for reckless driving and supposedly packed on a significant amount of weight. Last year he was snippy with reporters at times and showed up late to the ballpark, though the team fluffed his childish behavior off.

Maybe he’ll grow out of it. Puig is only 23, so he could mature as his career moves on. As long as he continues to produce at a high level, his behavior will probably be excused. If he doesn’t, Mattingly and others will become even more annoyed.

Don Mattingly wonders if Cardinals were stealing signs in NLCS

Don-Mattingly-DodgersThe St. Louis Cardinals made relatively easy work of the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLCS this year, winning the series in six games and finishing the job with a 9-0 thumping in Game 6. Traditionalists would argue that the Cardinals were simply the better team. However, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly has wondered if St. Louis gained an advantage with its knack for stealing signs.

At the MLB winter meetings on Wednesday, Mattingly said his team was well aware of the Cardinals’ reputation for stealing signs when they began the NLCS. While he said he does not believe St. Louis won the series because of sign stealing, he did admit that the Dodgers complained about where Cardinals third base coach Jose Oquendo was standing at certain times.

“We felt like we had to be sure we kept an eye on their first-base coach and their third-base coach,” Mattingly said, via Mark Saxon of ESPNLosAngeles.com. “They’re the ones with the easiest way to steal signs. Josie’s a guy, at third, who’s always looking for my signs from our dugout.”

Mattingly said he had someone else besides himself relay signs from the dugout during the series to try to stop Oquendo from stealing them. There has also been speculation that the Cardinals mastered the art of relaying signs to hitters when they had a man on second base. They hit .190 in the NLCS with no runners on base and .259 with runners in scoring position. As Saxon pointed out, St. Louis hit .236 with nobody on and .330 with runners in scoring position during the regular season.

“If you think a guy’s looking from second base, then you have to have a combination of signs,” Mattingly said. “If you think guys are cheating from first base, then you have to have multiple signs even with a guy on first. It’s your job to make sure they can’t do it.”

Mattingly reiterated that he was not using the prospect of sign stealing as an excuse, but he could have just as easily refused to discuss it. Stealing signs has been part of the game for years. The best teams can adapt accordingly.

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.

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Don Mattingly praised by son Preston for throwing down Alan Trammell

Don Preston MattinglyThe Los Angeles Dodgers players likely appreciated manager Don Mattingly standing up for them during the benches-clearing brawl with the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday night, but nobody enjoyed Mattingly’s actions more than his son, Preston.

Preston Mattingly, who was a first-round pick of the Dodgers in 2006, tweeted on Tuesday that watching his dad throw down Diamondbacks coach Alan Trammell “like a rag doll” got him all hyped. His tweet linked to a GIF of the throw down as seen below.

Here are a few photos of Mattingly rag-dolling Trammell:

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Don Mattingly, Mark McGwire own D-Backs coaches during crazy brawl (Video)

Six people were ejected from Tuesday’s Los Angeles Dodgers-Arizona Diamondbacks game after the teams got into a massive brawl following three batters getting hit.

Things began in the bottom of the sixth inning when Arizona pitcher Ian Kennedy hit Dodgers phenom Yasiel Puig on a 1-2 fastball with the D-backs up 2-0. Puig was checked out by the trainers for a few minutes and remained in the game.

In the top of the seventh, Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke got revenge by hitting D-backs catcher Miguel Montero to start the inning. After that point, you figure everything was settled. But it wasn’t — Kennedy then dosed Greinke in the head in the bottom of the seventh, leading to the benches clearing. After that point, there were a solid two and a half minutes of fighting that featured some amazing moments.

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly took down Arizona coach Alan Trammell; Dodgers hitting coach Mark McGwire raged on D-backs coach Matt Williams; and Dodgers relief pitcher J.P. Howell nearly tossed D-backs coach Turner Ward over the top rope.

After it was all done, Mark McGwire, Yasiel Puig, Ronald Belisario, Ian Kennedy, Turner Ward and Kirk Gibson were all ejected from the game.

Here are some images and GIFs capturing the wildest moments of the fight.

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Matt Kemp pulled on Saturday, benched on Sunday

Matt Kemp DodgersIt wasn’t that long ago when benching Matt Kemp would have seemed like a crazy idea. Two seasons ago he should have been NL MVP, and last season he posted a .905 OPS in 106 games. He’s one of the most dangerous hitters in the Los Angeles Dodgers’ lineup, so not having him in there seems crazy. But that has not been the case this season.

Kemp has hit .260/.312/.343 in 48 games and only has two home runs. His 14 walks to 54 strikeouts is his worst ratio since his first two seasons in the bigs. He’s hit poorly enough this season where he was actually pulled on Saturday and benched on Sunday.

Kemp struck out with two men on to end the sixth inning with the Dodgers up 4-3 on the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday. He was lifted as part of a double-switch that saw pitcher Kenley Jansen enter the game in his spot and Skip Schumaker replace him in center and bat in the pitcher’s spot. Manager Don Mattingly wanted Jansen to pitch more than one inning (which might result in his spot in the batting order coming up), and Kemp had made the last out, so he subbed him as part of a double-switch.

Kemp was ticked off when he entered the dugout, and he could be seen saying, “The f— is that bulls— about man?” toward Mattingly.

According to ESPN LA, Mattingly said that he saw Kemp’s reaction on replay and was not offended.

Mattingly also benched Kemp on Sunday to give the outfielder a day off against a tough pitcher. Mattingly noted that right-handed hitters are only batting .177 against Shelby Miller and decided that was a good time to give Kemp a break. Kemp did get a pinch-hit at-bat in the game and went 0-for-1.

Benching Kemp and Andre Ethier could make Mattingly less popular among some players, but he says he’s not concerned about that.

I’m not really questioning Mattingly at this point. The Dodgers are 20-28 and he’s trying to shake things up to get results. It’s just surprising that Kemp and Ethier, who have been the Dodgers’ most reliable hitters the past handful of seasons, are now getting benched.

Don Mattingly benches Andre Ethier again, says he’s not playing hard enough

andre-ethierDon Mattingly continued to show his disappointment with Andre Ethier by benching the Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder for the team’s 9-2 win over the Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday. The benching marked the third time in six games Ethier did not start, though Ethier did appear late in the other two games, unlike Wednesday.

Mattingly is specifically taking issue with Ethier’s effort. When asked to explain why Ethier was not starting again, Mattingly told reporters he was “putting out my lineup that I feel is going to be the most competitive and going to compete the hardest.”

Though Mattingly seems to believe Ethier is giving effort, he says the outfielder is not playing hard enough.

“There’s a touch difference between, ‘I’m giving you my best effort’ and being willing to fight you for that prize, to do whatever it takes to win,” Mattingly said, via the OC Register’s Bill Plunkett. “It’s almost something inside you that says you’re not beating me today, you’re not getting me out.

“There’s another level (to effort) you can’t measure with sabermetrics. They may say ‘BS’ to that. But there are certain things that you can’t measure.”

Ethier said he shows up to the park expecting to play each game. He was not aware that Mattingly said he was benching him for essentially not playing hard enough, and said he took offense to that.

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