The Dodgers left Australia with an early two-game lead over the Diamondbacks in the National League West standings, but the long plane ride home probably won’t have a completely celebratory vibe.
Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig was removed from Sunday’s 7-5 victory at the Sydney Cricket Ground after appearing to injure himself on a hard swing in the top of the ninth inning. He did not take his usual place in right field for the bottom of the ninth, and Dodgers manager Don Mattingly seemed irked with the second-year major leaguer in both his pre- and post-game chats with the U.S. and Australian media.
Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles has more:
Before the game, Mattingly told reporters that Puig “grabs something every time he takes a swing and misses.”
Asked what injury caused Puig to leave Sunday’s game, Mattingly said, “I guess his back.” He then seemed to react sarcastically when asked about the severity of the injury.
“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 said. “I’m not quite sure what we’ll do. We may not do anything. I’m not sure.”
Puig showed up to Dodgers camp this spring 26 pounds heavier than he was at the end of the 2013 season and he made two ugly baserunning gaffes in Sunday’s game. But he also went 3-for-5 with two RBI.
The Mets have begun working outfielder Jay Bruce and second baseman Neil Walker at first base as potential insurance in the event Lucas Duda continues to experience back discomfort, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. Duda has been sidelined recently due to back spasms and missed all but 47 games last season as a result of a stress fracture in his lower back.
Manager Terry Collins spoke about Bruce’s work at first base on Sunday, saying, “I liked everything I saw today. “It looks like he’s got the athleticism, he’s got the hands, he’s got the arm angle. He made some throws in our drills that you wouldn’t expect an outfielder to be able to make, but yet he does. If that’s where we have to go, I think we’ll be fine.”
Bruce has only three games’ worth of experience at first base at the major league level, but still has high expectations for himself. He said, “I am going to work at it. I want to give myself a chance and the team a chance. I am not going to go over there and be a butcher. It’s just not the way I go about my business on the baseball field and it wouldn’t be fair to the team if I wasn’t capable to do it, so I am going to work at it and we’ll see what happens.”
The Mets made Bruce available via trade over the offseason but didn’t get an offer that whet their appetite. As a result, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out in the Mets’ crowded outfield.
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.
There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.
Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.