Yasiel Puig has been in the majors with the Los Angeles Dodgers for just over a month, but he is already making enemies. On Tuesday night, Puig ran through a stop sign from his third base coach and tried to truck Arizona Diamondbacks catcher Miguel Montero to score a run. Puig is a star in the making, but the play added to a list of reasons he is not making many friends around the league.
“If he’s my teammate, I probably try to teach him how to behave in the big leagues,” Montero told MLB.com on Wednesday. “He’s creating a bad reputation around the league, and it’s unfortunate because the talent that he has is to be one of the greatest players in the big leagues.”
Arizona pitcher Ian Kennedy expressed a similar opinion earlier this week, saying that Puig plays with a lot of arrogance. The 22-year-old is batting .394 with 8 home runs and 19 RBI in only 35 MLB games. He has also made outstanding plays like this in the field, but Montero is not ready to crown the young Cuban just yet.
“Right now, I’m not going to say he’s the best because he hasn’t proved anything yet,” Montero said. “Does he have talent? Of course. Does he have the tools? Of course. He’s got so much talent, it’d be really bad if he wasted it doing the stupid things that he’s doing. You have to respect to earn respect. If you don’t respect anybody, you aren’t going to earn respect.”
The play on Tuesday itself was clean, but Montero took exception to the way Puig stared him down after trying to run him over.
“I don’t blame him running me over, it’s part of the game,” he said. “The only thing I really don’t appreciate is why you have to look back at me. I really don’t appreciate that.”
Puig has also frustrated opposing pitchers by flipping his bat and trying to show people up. The bottom line is he’s young. He’ll learn as his career moves along. Whether or not he’ll care what other players think of him remains to be seen.