Dodgers GM: Yasiel Puig is “an important part of our ballclub”

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Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig burst onto the scene in 2013 as one of the brightest young superstars in the game. In the following three seasons, however, injuries, behavior and attitude problems and poor, frustrating fundamentals causes his stock in Los Angeles to sink. This past August he was demoted to Triple-A in the course of the Dodgers’ playoff push and, it seemed, his time in Los Angeles was effectively over.

He raked in the minors, however, and was called back up in time for the playoffs. While he was not a real factor for the Dodgers in October, his team’s front office says that he is once again part of the Dodgers’ plans going forward:

“He did everything we asked him to do in the last two months, so we’re in a much better place,” general manager Farhan Zaidi said Wednesday at the GM meetings . . . “[he has] re-established himself as an important part of our ballclub.”

Whether that means Puig stays in Los Angeles, of course, is an open question.

On the one hand, if the Dodgers still wish to move Puig, as it was reported they most certainly wanted to late in the season, Zaidi has every incentive to talk him up as a reformed player ready to reestablish himself as a superstar. Smart GMs know not to badmouth the players they wish to move, especially when people may already be suspicious about that players’ character and quality.

On the other hand, when your other outfield options apart from established center fielder Joc Pederson are Andre Ethier, Andrew Toles, Howie Kendrick, Scott Van Slyke, Kiké Hernandez and Trayce Thompson, it’s not like you have a ton of quality out there. Especially for a playoff contender. Either is old and injury prone. Kendrick is unhappy in the outfield and has made it clear that he wants to be traded. The other options are platoon or utility options at best. Simply put, beyond Pederson, Puig is the best outfielder the Dodgers have right now.

If Puig is to be moved, Dodgers fans had best hope it’s in a package for a solid, middle-of-the-order bat. If he is not to be moved, they had best hope that Zaidi is correct and that he truly is back 2013 mode or at least something close to it.

Yanks pitcher Severino has lat strain, likely to start on IL

severino injury
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The New York Yankees could be opening the season without three-fifths of their projected starting rotation.

Right-hander Luis Severino has a low-grade lat strain, Yankees manager Aaron Boone told reporters Saturday, putting the two-time All-Star at risk of starting the season on the injured list.

“Obviously it’s going to put him in jeopardy to start the year,” Boone said.

Boone expressed optimism this wouldn’t be a long-term issue but acknowledged that Severino “most likely” would get placed on the injured list.

Severino, 29, went 7-3 with a 3.18 ERA in 19 starts last season. He struck out 112 in 102 innings.

Boone said the issue arose after Severino made his last start on Tuesday.

“Afterwards when he was kind of doing his workout, arm-care stuff, he just felt some tightness in there,” Boone said. “He came in the next day and it was a little tight, and then yesterday he was going to go out and throw and that tightness was still there enough to where he wanted to go get it looked at.”

The Yankees already won’t have right-hander Frankie Montas or left-hander Carlos Rodón for the start of the season.

Rodón, who joined the Yankees by signing a $162 million, six-year contract in the offseason, has a left forearm strain that will cause him to open the season on the injured list. Rodón has been an All-Star the last two seasons, in 2021 with the Chicago White Sox and in 2022 with the San Francisco Giants.

Montas is recovering from shoulder surgery and won’t begin throwing until at least late May.

The only projected starters from the Yankees’ rotation likely to be ready for the beginning of the season are five-time All-Star right-hander Gerrit Cole and 2022 All-Star left-hander Nestor Cortes.


Jacob deGrom struck out six over 3 2/3 shutout innings against the San Diego Padres in his final start before making his Texas Rangers regular-season debut.

The Rangers had announced Friday that deGrom would get the start Thursday when the Rangers open their season against Aaron Nola and the Philadelphia Phillies. The two-time Cy Young Award winner signed a five-year, $185 million contract with the Rangers in the offseason after spending nine seasons with the New York Mets.


Zack Greinke pitched 5 1/3 innings in his final test before he gets the ball against the Minnesota Twins in Kansas City on Thursday.

It will be Greinke’s seventh opening day start. At 39 years old, he will be the oldest opening-day starter in the history of the Royals franchise, breaking his own record set last year. He will be the the oldest opening day starter in the American League since a 40-year-old Curt Schilling started against the Royals in 2007.

Greinke allowed two runs on five hits against the Dodgers with no walks and two strikeouts.

“He was great today,” first-year manager Matt Quatraro said.“It certainly looked like the way they (Dodger batters) were taking those pitches, he was just dotting the plate on both sides. His two-seamer and changeup looked really good. It was encouraging.”


First baseman Luke Voit has opted out of his minor league deal with the Milwaukee Brewers, giving the veteran slugger the opportunity to negotiate with other teams. He also could still return to the Brewers on a major league contract.

In other Brewers news, right-hander Adrian Houser left his start Saturday after 1 2/3 innings due to groin tightness.