Plaschke

Great Moments in Puig Derangement Syndrome

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Unless and until Yasiel Puig is ever talked and written about as a normal human being instead of some scary monster which portends dread and personifies all of our darkest fears, we’re gonna start handing out awards. With apologies to Charles Krauthammer, who coined the term Bush Derangement Syndrome, our awards will commemorate Great Moments in Yasiel Puig Derangement Syndrome.

The definition of Puig Derangement Syndrome:  “the acute onset of paranoia in otherwise normal people in reaction to the play, the acts —nay—the very existence of Yasiel Puig.” Statements of criticism of Yasiel Puig which appear to be of an emotional origin rather than based in fact or logic.

While some may say this should be called the Plaschke Award for Los Angeles Times’ columnist Bill Plaschke’s perfection of the form, in reality, CBS’ Scott Miller is the gold standard here. That was All-Star work, while Plaschke’s Puig Derangement is more of the lunch bucket variety. He puts in the time and will even be sure to lash out at Puig even when he doesn’t have his best stuff. You gotta respect that kind of dedication.

Today is a great example, as his Puig Derangement operates on two different fronts in one single column. First, he uses his game story to note Puig’s shortcomings in last night’s game, despite the fact that Puig did nothing of consequence, good or bad, that even came remotely close to affecting the outcome of the game:

One of the few familiar sights at Petco was the play of Yasiel Puig, who encapsulated his 2013 struggles in the first inning alone, striking out wildly on three pitches and then overthrowing the cutoff man from right field.

Carl Crawford struck out three times and Andre Ethier twice, but I guess those weren’t as bad as Puig’s one strikeout. And that throw that missed the cutoff man arguably could have gotten the runner heading to third had Hanley Ramirez not intercepted it, but we’ll let that go. We have a narrative to pound. Perhaps as many as a thousand times!

That alone would not have gotten Plaschke notice for his Puig Derangement Syndrome, however. For that we have to keep reading:

In more Puig news — can there ever be enough? — there has been clarification on a report last week that Mattingly called a team meeting about Puig. Actually, it was Puig who summoned several players hanging around the clubhouse and asked them if anybody had a problem with the way he played.

One veteran spoke up. Then another. Both had the same problem, that Puig was playing too fast and loose with their championship hopes.

There is no sign yet that he has listened, but at least on this night, the losing story revolved around the older guys.

This is Plaschke backing off his column of last week in which he talked about how “Don Mattingly held a meeting” in which Puig was lectured by his manager and team veterans about his recklessness. As we noted yesterday, however, the real story was that Puig himself called that meeting in order to ask his teammates how he could get better. Now that the meeting tends to put Puig in a better light, however, it’s no longer a meeting to Plaschke. It’s an informal thing in which Puig basically shouted at veterans “asking them if they had a problem” with him, which is clearly designed to make Puig look belligerent and confrontational. Guys like Puig don’t have meetings, you see. They summon people and put them uncomfortably on the spot. And, of course, it is assumed that he didn’t listen to them.

Excellent work, Bill. Keep this up and we may just name Great Moments in Puig Derangement Syndrome the “Bill Plaschke Awards” after all!

Mets leaning on Jay Bruce, Neil Walker as Lucas Duda insurance

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MAY 12:  Pinch hitter Lucas Duda #21 of the New York Mets walks back to the dugout after striking out for the first out of the ninth inning against Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on May 12, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  The Dodgers won 5-0.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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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.

Jason Kipnis diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02:  Jason Kipnis #22 of the Cleveland Indians celebrates after scoring a run on a wild pitch thrown by Jon Lester #34 of the Chicago Cubs (not pictured) during the fifth inning in Game Seven of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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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.