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Yasiel Puig struggling in spring training should concern Dodgers

Yasiel Puig arm raiseUnless you’re a hardcore Dodgers or fantasy baseball nut, you probably haven’t quite realized how bad Yasiel Puig has been this spring for the Dodgers.

Puig, who developed into a star last year and finished second in Rookie of the Year voting, is batting .122 this spring. He’s 5-for-41 with three doubles, one walk and 5 strikeouts. That .122/.136/.195 slash line has resulted in a lowly .331 OPS.

Of course this is a very small sample size, but it’s something the Dodgers should be concerned about.

Puig had a bad offseason that included a speeding arrest — his second of the year. He also put on about 26 pounds from the end of last season, which gave manager Don Mattingly some concern.

Was Puig not training and practicing enough over the offseason? We’ll have a better idea over the next few weeks whether Puig is in good shape or whether the rest of baseball has figured out some of his weaknesses as a batter.

The Dodgers have two games against the Diamondbacks coming up in Australian this weekend. They’ll also have some more spring training games upon returning to Arizona after their trip. Then their season begins for good on March 30.

Keep in mind that before his monster season last year, Puig crushed spring training pitching. He batted .517 with an .828 slugging percentage and was scorching when the Dodgers sent him down. If you compare the two springs, it’s just not a good sign entering the year.

Yasiel Puig reportedly had major weight gain – put on 26 pounds

Yasiel PuigAs if the Los Angeles Dodgers didn’t already have enough to worry about with Yasiel Puig concerning his off-field driving issues, now they have to think about him being out of shape.

According to ESPN LA, Puig showed up to spring training exhibiting signs of weight gain. Manager Don Mattingly reportedly said Puig weighed in at 251 pounds, which is 26 more than he weighed at the end of last season.

Some weight gain over the offseason should be expected. There are guys like Bryce Harper, who works out intensely with the goal of putting on muscle. Puig, 23, also is still young, so we can expect body changes for him as he gets older. Plus, players often have lost weight by the end of the season because of all the playing and travel, so 225 might not be Puig’s typical weight.

Despite all these excuses, I think there is reason for the Dodgers to be concerned. Had Puig put on 10 or maybe even 15 pounds, I don’t think that would be a reason to worry. That seems pretty typical. But 26 pounds says to me he wasn’t staying in shape and watching his weight over the offseason.

When you’re a professional athlete, it’s your job to stay in shape during the offseason. Puig needs to learn that.

Below are two photos of Puig from late January:

Does it look like he’s showing a little bit of a gut? Yeah, he has something to work off before the season. Guess he was on that Jesus Montero offseason plan.

Yasiel Puig hires driver in wake of speeding arrests

Yasiel Puig mug shot

Yasiel Puig has hired his cousin to drive him around for the time being in the wake of his second arrest for reckless driving, Los Angeles Dodgers president Stan Kasten said on Thursday.

Kasten said during an interview with 710 KSPN Los Angeles that he spoke with Puig on Thursday, and the outfielder told him he has a driver for now.

“He has stopped driving, by the way. His cousin, who has been kind of helping him along, is now his full-time driver,” Kasten told host Mark Willard.

Puig was arrested on Dec. 28 on reckless driving charges for allegedly doing 110 mph in a 70-mph zone in Florida. He was arrested and charged with doing 97 in a 50-mph zone in Tennessee in April, though he had those charges dismissed.

On Wednesday, dash cam footage of Puig’s December arrest in Florida was released. It showed Puig was wearing pink shorts at the time of his arrest and that he pleaded with the officer to let him go. His mother and two others were supposedly in the car with him at the time. This move by Puig is probably well overdue.

Yasiel Puig was speeding with his mom in the car, wore pink shorts (Video)

Yasiel Puig pink shortsYasiel Puig was arrested on reckless driving charges Dec. 28 after being caught driving at alleged speeds of 110 mph down Alligator Alley in Florida. What I didn’t know until now is that his mother and two passengers were in the car with him when he was speeding … and that he was wearing pink shorts. Cute.

Even though I couldn’t tell from the video, TMZ says the officer yells at Puig in Spanish and tells him that he could have killed his mother by driving so recklessly. Puig’s mother was also supposedly crying during the stop.

What’s the lesson to be learned in all of this? If you’re going to be pulled over for speeding, make sure it’s not when you’re wearing pink shorts.

Yasiel Puig arrested for reckless driving, was clocked at 110 mph

Yasiel PuigLos Angeles Dodgers rookie outfielder Yasiel Puig was arrested Saturday morning in Florida on reckless driving charges after being clocked doing 110 mph in a 70-mph zone, according to a report.

The Naples Daily News reports that Puig was driving his 2013 Mercedes when he was caught speeding on Alligator Alley.

You may recall that Puig was arrested and charged with speeding, reckless driving and driving without proof of insurance in Chattanooga in April. He was driving 97 in a 50-mph zone that time.

Puig was in Chattanooga playing for the Dodgers’ Double-A minor league team to start the season. He was eventually called up to the bigs by the Dodgers in June.

Apparently Puig drives like he plays — full speed and without much caution. He batted .319 with 21 doubles and 19 home runs in 104 games this season and finished second in NL Rookie of the Year voting.

Yasiel Puig brought 50 kids to Dodger Stadium to play baseball with him

Yasiel-Puig-kids-Dodger-Stadium

Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig drew mixed reviews from fans and players across the league during his first full MLB season. There is no denying Puig’s talent, but antics like pimping a triple like its a home run and loafing in the outfield have rubbed some people the wrong way. On Monday night, the controversial young star did something that deserves a pat on the back.

The photo you see above, which was posted on Twitter by Dodgers PR person Yvonne Carrasco, shows Puig playing some ball with 50 local kids from the neighborhood surrounding Dodger Stadium. Puig apparently invited a bunch of kids to come take some swings and shag some balls with him, which had to have been the experience of a lifetime.

Opponents can say that they want about the reputation Puig is creating for himself around the league, but that was an awesome gesture from the 22-year-old. Whether it was his idea or not, Puig deserves credit for helping to make it happen.

H/T Eye on Baseball

Yasiel Puig had an error-filled Game 6 (Video)

Yasiel Puig gloveFew MLB players have been as controversial this season as Yasiel Puig. Some love him for his hustle, speed, power bat and power arm, and overall enthusiasm. Others say he is cocky, immature, celebrates too much, and makes stupid errors in the field or on the bases.

I like Puig’s talent and love the overall energy he brings, but some of his mistakes remind me too much of Vladimir Guerrero and are just maddening. Friday night was one of those bad nights.

While Puig silenced most of his critics during the NLDS, he gave them plenty of ammo in the NLCS, especially during Game 6. Puig made three poor plays in the field that helped St. Louis Cardinals base runners move up a base. He was charged with an error on two of the plays. Only one of the errors may have cost the Dodgers a run, but the plays were examples of what leads to the criticism of the Cuban outfielder.

[Related: Yasiel Puig lost a ball in the sun]

Puig’s first mistake came on Carlos Beltran’s RBI single in the bottom of the second. Puig made an off-balanced lollipop throw into home, which allowed Beltran to advance to second on the throw instead of staying at first.

Later in the inning, Puig airmailed a throw home on Shane Robinson’s 2-run single to make it 4-0. One could argue that a throw on the money might have had David Freese at the plate and kept the score at 3-0, but I think that would have been tough. His throw to the backstop allowed the Cardinals runners to move up to second and third, but Clayton Kershaw struck out Michael Wacha with the based loaded to end the inning.

Then in the fifth, Puig misplayed a single to right by Yadier Molina, allowing the catcher to take second.

[Related: Yasiel Puig pimps triple, thought he hit home run]

Puig’s errors didn’t really affect the outcome — the Dodgers lost 9-0 — but this is exactly what people are talking about when they mention Puig’s shortcomings. Manager Don Mattingly talked about teaching Puig some maturity, but I don’t think this sort of thing will change. I think these types of plays are just part of who Puig is. He plays with a lot of intensity, so you just have to take the good with the bad and get used to it.