Yasiel Puig is back in the starting lineup tonight against the Padres after getting a bit of a breather yesterday. It was the second game he has missed in the past week. Puig isn’t injured, but Dodgers manager Don Mattingly told Mark Saxon of ESPNLosAngeles.com that he’s worried that the outfielder’s frustration level is getting the best of him right now.
“The season is long, and it wears you down,” Mattingly said. “It’s part of learning to regulate yourself here, as far as rest or anything else. We’ve seen Dee Gordon and how much more consistent his approach is day in and day out now, staying at a certain level. I think Yasiel’s really emotional, and it’s hard to be really emotional and play 162.”
Puig has really scuffled this month, hitting .218/.306/.241 with two extra-base hits (both doubles) over 24 games. The 23-year-old outfielder has quietly had a pretty lengthy power outage, with just one home run since the All-Star break and two over his last 75 games dating back to late May. He still has a .271/.349/.408 batting line during that time, which isn’t anything to be embarrassed about, but a return to form would be a welcome sight for the Dodgers down the stretch.
Jake Arrieta‘s bat is in midseason form already. The Cubs’ ace swatted a solo home run to center field off of Zack Greinke in Thursday afternoon’s Grapefruit League exhibition game, his first homer of the spring.
The blast went 465 feet, according to MLB.com’s Daren Willman.
Arrieta has hit two home runs in each of the past two seasons. Madison Bumgarner (eight) and Noah Syndergaard (four) are the only other pitchers to match or exceed his output in that department.
Greinke, meanwhile, is hoping to bounce back after a miserable 2016 season. He finished with an uncharacteristic 4.37 ERA in 26 starts in his first year with the Diamondbacks.
Angels first baseman Luis Valbuena will miss the next four to six weeks with a strained right hamstring, Pedro Moura of the Los Angeles Times reports.
Valbuena, 31, signed a two-year, $15 million contract with the Angels in January and was on track to get the lion’s share of the playing time at first base. While he’s out, however, C.J. Cron will handle first base on a regular basis. When Valbeuna returns, the two will likely form a platoon.
Last year with the Astros, Valbuena hit a solid .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances.