Yasiel Puig made an early exit from the Dodgers’ second of two games in Australia with an apparent back injury. The situation did not sit well with Dodgers manager Don Mattingly, who told Mark Saxon of ESPNLosAngeles.com that Puig “grabs something every time he takes a swing and misses.”
But some positive news came down the pike on Tuesday as the Dodgers settled back into camp.
As first reported by beat writer Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register, an MRI showed no major damage — only inflammation — in Puig’s back. He’s considered day-to-day for now and should be ready for the Dodgers’ March 30 game in San Diego.
Puig went 3-for-10 with a double and two RBI in that two-game season-opening series against the Diamondbacks at the Sydney Cricket Ground. The 23-year-old Cuban outfielder batted .319/.391/.534 with 19 home runs and 11 stolen bases in his first 104 major league games last season.
With a 6-1 win over the Twins in Sunday’s season finale, the Royals clinched the best record in the American League, which nets them home field advantage in the ALDS and ALCS. The Royals stand at 95-67 while the Blue Jays, who lost on Sunday, finish at 93-69.
95-67 is the Royals’ best record since finishing 97-65 in 1980, when they lost the World Series to the Phillies. Their division title is their first since 1985.
In the ALDS, which starts on Thursday, the Royals will host the winner of the AL Wild Card game between the Astros and Yankees. They are looking to avenge last year’s World Series loss, in seven games, to the Giants. The Blue Jays will host the Rangers in the other ALDS series.
Both the Astros’ and the Yankees’ fates were decided before their own games had completed on Sunday. The Rangers defeated the Angels, which clinched a Wild Card spot for the Astros. Then the Astros dropped Sunday’s season finale to the Diamondbacks, which clinched the first AL Wild Card slot for the Yankees. The Yankees are on their way to a loss against the Orioles as of this writing, but that will not affect anything now.
The Astros were in a 3-3 tie with the Diamondbacks in the seventh inning, but reliever Chad Qualls served up a two-run home run to Paul Goldschmidt. That would prove to be the deciding factor in a 5-3 loss.
The Yankees are losing 7-4 to the Orioles behind a subpar start by Michael Pineda and a shaky performance by the bullpen.
The MLB postseason opens up with the Yankees hosting the Astros on Tuesday in the AL Wild Card game. The winner moves on to face the Royals in Kansas City in the ALDS.