Yasiel Puig had a rough start to the day, but he knows how to finish in style.
Dodgers beat writer Bill Plunkett was first to break the news.
So Yasiel Puig hustled into locker room at 4:50. 35 minutes before stretch. Well after most players here. Now in mgr office with Mattingly— Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) August 20, 2013
Puig is out of mgr office after 10 minutes. #Dodgers— Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) August 20, 2013
Puig was fined for late arrival today. Mattingly: "More than a dollar. Less than 10,000". Told Mattingly he got caught in traffic. #Dodgers— Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) August 20, 2013
If that wasn't enough, Puig was also benched to start the game (though the official reasoning by manager Don Mattingly was the rookie's recent slump). It was as though the stage was setting itself for Puig's dramatic turnaround.
No. 66 stepped in to play right field in a double switch in the bottom of the sixth inning. He then came up to bat in the top of the eighth as he led things off.
The young outfielder needed just one pitch to make his appearance count, as he took a low Dan Jennings offering to deep center field for his 12th home run of the season. The blast broke a 4-4 tie to put the NL West-leading Dodgers ahead in their eventual 6-4 victory.
Talk about a finish.
This home run couldn't have come at a better time for Puig. His emotions have been getting the best of him recently, and we've seen that coincide with a decline in his play. Undergoing the worst slump of his young career, Puig was just 6-for-35 with 10 strikeouts and just one RBI in his previous nine games (a .171 batting average and .257 slugging).
Yasiel Puig came back Tuesday and showed us exactly why we have been so enthralled with the young Cuban phenom this season. Don Mattingly has to be hoping that his prized rookie's slump and off-field troubles are finally over.