I vaguely remember hearing about Nick Punto literally tearing off his teammates’ jerseys as some sort of walkoff win ceremony when he was in Boston earlier this year, but I chalked it up to spicy food before midnight or something. Now that I’m reading about it happening in L.A., however, I guess it’s a real thing:
Of the $262.5 million that Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Punto are owed after this season, Punto accounts for just $1.5 million of that total. His value to a team searching for chemistry, however, cannot be understated, especially during walk-off wins.
When Punto’s team wins in walk-off fashion, he reverts into his “Shredder” alter ego. He runs from the dugout like a sprinter out of the starter blocks, makes a beeline to whoever had the winning hit and proceeds to tear the player’s jersey off while the rest of his teammates jump into the fray.
He did it in St. Louis too:
“Last year, David Freese’s Game 6 jersey is in the Hall of Fame,” Punto said. “But it’s torn up in pieces.”
And now he’s done that the past couple of nights as the Dodgers have two walkoff wins in a row. AJ. Ellis was the most recent victim.
It’s like Punto sat around for two years trying to think of something dumber than hitting a teammate in the face with a pie or coming up with some silly hand gesture and then said “screw it, I’m just gonna assault my teammate.” The only place we have to go from here are “Victory Face Punches” and “Rally Cup Checks.”
Earlier, Craig wrote about how Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig is back in manager Dave Roberts’ doghouse once again. Puig didn’t slide into second base when he was caught stealing to end Saturday’s game, which irked Roberts.
Puig didn’t earn himself any brownie points on Monday as he was late to a team workout and was benched as a result, MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports. Roberts said, “That was a decision he made, not me.” Roberts added that he was disappointed in Puig, though he did note that the former All-Star’s behavior has been improved for most of the season.
Puig, 26, has had a solid season, batting .259/.339/.474 with 26 home runs, 70 RBI, 66 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 554 plate appearances. While he hasn’t provided value on the same level as Justin Turner or Corey Seager, he’s been a valuable part of the lineup which makes this drama all the more unfortunate with just a week and a half before the start of the NLDS.
Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that the Pirates were granted an exemption by Major League Baseball and the players’ union which will allow infielder Jung Ho Kang to participate in the Dominican Winter League without being removed from the restricted list.
Kang, 30, has been denied a visa by the Department of State as a result of his third DUI in South Korea last September. Kang was also under investigation in 2015 for alleged sexual assault.
Kang is under contract through the end of 2018 and the Pirates have a club option for the 2019 season as well, so it makes sense they would try to get him into some type of baseball action ahead of next season. The infielder has hit .273/.355/.483 in 837 plate appearances across two seasons in the majors. As Brink notes, Kang has already arrived to the Dominican Republic and will work out with his team, Aguilas Cibaenas, ahead of the start of the season on October 20.