Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig is coming off of another disappointing season. The Cuban outfielder hit .263/.323/.416 with 11 home runs and 45 RBI in 368 plate appearances. The inffective and injury-plagued campaign wasn’t what he nor the Dodgers were expecting in year five of his seven-year, $42 million contract.
During the offseason, Puig changed his batting stance and the early returns are good. Excuse the amateurish cropping, but here are the major differences.
Puig stands straight up at the plate now whereas before he had a slight crouch. And as he’s preparing to swing, Puig’s leg kick is straight up and down as opposed to a toe tap.
Puig blasted a solo home run — his first of the spring — during Sunday’s exhibition against Mariners switch-pitcher Pat Venditte. Of course, he celebrated with his signature bat flip.
The Dodgers are certainly hoping there’s more where that came from.
John Wisely of the Detroit Free Press reports that current free agent reliever Francisco Rodriguez is being sued by his former landlord for damage to the rented property as well as missing artwork. The landlord is asking for $80,000 after having kept Rodriguez’s $15,000 security deposit.
The lawsuit says that Rodriguez damaged a bedroom TV, a crystal floor lamp, glass shelves in the bar, glass tiles in the master bath, and a Moroccan mirror in the powder room. Additionally, the suit claims that the bedding is stained and paint has chipped, as well as other damages. And the piece of art that is allegedly missing, which depicts a tiger, is valued at more than $10,000.
Rodriguez has not yet been served with the suit, but the landlord has been speaking to his managers.
The Nationals released Rodriguez, 35, two weeks ago after having signed him to a minor league contract in late June. He started the season with the Tigers, but struggled to a 7.82 ERA over 25 1/3 innings before being released.
MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reports that the Rays have acquired first baseman Lucas Duda from the Mets. The Mets will receive pitching prospect Drew Smith in return, per Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.
Duda, 31, is batting .246/.347/.532 with 17 home runs and 37 RBI in 291 plate appearances for the Mets this season. He’ll provide a potent bat in the Rays’ lineup as they attempt to overcome their current 2.5-game deficit in the AL East.
Smith, 23, is the Rays’ No. 30 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline. He ascended from High-A to Triple-A already this season, posting an aggregate 1.60 ERA with a 40/9 K/BB ratio over 45 innings across four stops with High-A Lakeland (Tigers), High-A Charlotte (Rays), Double-A Montgomery, and Triple-A Durham.