Yasiel Puig’s fundamentals have been the topic du jour in the media recently, leading to some saying that he should be taught a lesson for his mistakes. Hyperbole aside, teammates are lending some advice to the Cuban phenom.
According to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, Jerry Hairston Jr. said that a number of veterans spoke to Puig this week in an effort to get him to cut down on his mistakes. He described it as essentially their way of saying, “Hey, that’s enough,” and that such mistakes could prove costly during the postseason.
“A lot of things are happening to him,” Hairston said. “He’s a superstar at 22. He’s in a new country, a new culture. We are sensitive to that.
“But if you¹re going to be a great player, you’ve got to do the little things. That’s how you win. That’s the key.”
While Puig’s arrival has been a boon for the surging Dodgers, he has received some criticism for routinely making baserunning mistakes and missing the cutoff man. He was also fined earlier this week after arriving late to the ballpark.
For what it’s worth, Hairston said Puig was receptive to the advice and that he has noticed improvement since. It’s easy to forget that the 22-year-old outfielder has only been in the U.S. for a little over a year and played a grand total of 63 games in the minors before being making his major league debut in June, so the Dodgers should absolutely do what they can to make him a better player and teammate. But that doesn’t change the fact that most of this controversy has lacked perspective.
Yasiel Puig was much more of a cleanup hitter than a leadoff man in his first week of the majors, and now he’s one officially, as the Dodgers have inserted him behind Adrian Gonzalez in Monday’s lineup.
The lineup was announced not long after Puig was named NL Player of the Week for smashing four homers in his major league debut. He hit .464 with 10 RBI in his seven games as a leadoff man last week. However, even though he had nine hits and a walk to go along with those four homers, he had just the four runs scored. The Dodgers never drove him in during any of their seven games.
With Puig batting cleanup, the Dodgers have Nick Punto leading off tonight.
If will be interesting to see if Puig gets many strikes to hit from left-hander Wade Miley while batting ahead of Jerry Hairston Jr. and Andre Ethier. Hairston has a good rep against lefties, but he’s batting .233 with no extra-base hits against them in 30 at-bats this year. Ethier has always struggled against left-handers and is slumping again just about everyone right now.
Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Dodgers have placed Jerry Hairston Jr. on the 15-day disabled list with a strained groin muscle and called up utilityman Elian Herrera from Triple-A Albuquerque to fill the vacant 25-man roster spot.
Hairston, who suffered the injury while running the bases Saturday, is expected to miss three weeks. He’s batting .255/.304/.353 with a homer and two doubles over 58 plate appearances this season.
The Dodgers entered play Tuesday evening with a 13-18 record and -34 run differential, which currently has them sitting in last place in the National League West standings.
The Dodgers will activate starter Chris Capuano from the disabled list before tonight’s game against the Diamondbacks, as Capuano opposes Trevor Cahill. In a related move, the Dodgers will place Mark Ellis on the disabled list retroactive to April 27 with a strained right quad, reports Dylan Hernandez.
Capuano went on the DL with a strained calf after an ugly April 16 start against the Padres in which he surrendered 5 runs in two innings. It was his first start of the season. Prior to that, he had two scoreless appearances of one and 1.2 innings out of the bullpen.
Ellis has not played since April 26. He is hitting .342 in 80 plate appearances.
In related news, Jerry Hairston Jr. limped off the field during an early workout today, testing his injured groin. He will likely join Ellis on the DL.