Yasiel Puig is going to slow it down this year

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I’ll believe it when I see it — I feel like it’s going to take a big injury for Puig to be anything less than a race car in the red, in every sense of the term — but Dylan Hernandez reports that the Dodgers are working on slowing down Yasiel Puig:

“The fans go to the stadium to enjoy themselves,” Puig said in Spanish. “After work, they spend their free time watching us play. We have to do our best to entertain them.”

Puig did that last season with a hair-raising style of play, electrifying crowds in becoming one of baseball’s top draws as a rookie. However, Puig also acknowledges he has to be more restrained on the field, admitting he has to be smarter on the bases and learn when to hit the cutoff man rather than throw directly to the plate from right field.

I like that Puig acknowledges that he’s an entertainer. I feel like baseball would be more fun if more players felt that way. But yeah, hitting the cutoff man kind of matters. As does not chasing balls a foot out of the strike zone.

If he can manage to stay intense and fun while refining his game, he’ll be the biggest thing ever. If he just does one or the other he’ll still be worth watching, even if he’s got issues. If he ratchets things back and doesn’t improve, man, snoozeville.

MRI reveals rib inflammation for Anthony Rizzo

Anthony Rizzo rib inflammation
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Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo underwent an MRI on Tuesday that revealed rib inflammation on his left side, Maddie Lee of NBC Sports Chicago reports. Rizzo has been dealing with back soreness for the last week and has missed several intrasquad games as a result.

Rizzo is unsure if he can avoid opening the regular season on the injured list. He said, “I’ll do everything I can to stay off of it, obviously. … Every game’s important. So, we’ve got to get off to a good start and hopefully I’m out there with the guys. I plan on it, but you can’t control it and you’ve got to be smart.”

Rizzo, who turns 31 years old next month, is coming off of another highly productive season in which he hit .293/.405/.520 with 27 home runs, 94 RBI, and 89 runs scored over 613 plate appearances. In the event he needs to open the season on the IL, Victor Caratini figures to get the first crack at handling first base.

The Cubs missed the playoffs last year for the first time since 2014, finishing in third place with a 84-78 record. Rizzo, no doubt, will play a big role if the Cubs are to find themselves back in the postseason.