Yasiel Puig to be in the Dodgers lineup tonight, playing right field

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Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said today that Yasiel Puig “is definitely on his way” to Los Angeles and that “he’ll be in the lineup tonight, playing right field,” as the Dodgers face the Padres.

Puig, of course, hit .348/.400/.594 in 19 games since being demoted to Oklahoma City. His demotion was for both baseball and attitude purposes, it would seem, with everyone at the time making noises about Puig needing to focus as well as become a more consistent offensive threat. He certainly handled the baseball side of things down at Triple-A. With the exception of a noted SnapChat controversy soon after his demotion, he was reportedly a good citizen down on the farm as well.

So, why is Puig back up? The hitting certainly helps, as Josh Reddick, who was traded for in large part to replace Puig in the lineup, has tanked since coming over from Oakland, hitting .161/.223/.172. He wasn’t immune from weird off-the-field headlines himself, missing time after getting injured while ordering room service in a hotel.

The biggest question will be how Puig plays now that he’s back in the big leagues. Will he remain focused and will that hot bat he flashed in the minors carry over? If so, a lot of his past sins will be overlooked as playing well tends to eclipse most things when it comes to ballplayers. It’ll also be worth watching his teammates, many of whom clearly have issues with him, with at least one of them apparently spreading misinformation about him as he got sent down to the minors in an effort to make him look bad.

But again: if he plays well, all sins are forgiven.

 

Report: Guardians, 1B Josh Bell reach 2-year, $33M deal

Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports
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SAN DIEGO — The Cleveland Guardians and slugging first baseman Josh Bell have agreed to a two-year, $33 million contract, according to a person familiar with the negotiations.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the deal was pending a review of medical records.

Bell played for Washington and San Diego last season, batting .266 with 17 homers and 71 RBIs in 156 games.

Cleveland is coming off a surprising 2022 season, going 92-70 and winning the AL Central for the first time since 2018. The addition of Bell gives the Guardians more power for their lineup after they hit just 127 homers this year – the second-lowest total in the majors.

The 30-year-old Bell is a .262 hitter with 130 homers and 468 RBIs over seven seasons with three big league teams. He had his best year with Pittsburgh in 2019, making the NL All-Star team while batting .277 with 37 homers and 116 RBIs in 143 games.

The switch-hitting Bell also is expected to benefit from restrictions on defensive positioning coming to the game next year.