Updates from Saturday, April 5
Puig is back in the lineup on Saturday, according to the Dodgers' official Twitter feed:
#Dodgers lineup vs. Giants: Puig RF Turner 2B Ramirez SS Gonzalez 1B Kemp CF Van Slyke LF Uribe 3B Ellis C Maholm P— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) April 5, 2014
Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig was originally slated to start the team's home opener against the rival San Francisco Giants, but the team pulled him from the lineup after he arrived to the ballpark late.
Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register reports Puig didn't make it to Dodger Stadium in time and therefore missed a majority of the pregame workout routine:
Yasiel Puig arrived late. Was not on the field for most off the workout and has been pulled from #Dodgers lineup. Kemp is in.— Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) April 4, 2014
Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com thinks it might be time for the uber-talented 23-year-old rising star to seek some advice on how better to conduct himself at the major league level:
puig benched for being late. kemp in for him now. maybe he needs to seek some more advice on how to handle things.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) April 4, 2014
After the game, Puig said he apologized, according to Mark Saxon of ESPNLosAngeles.com:
Puig said he apologized to Mattingly and his teammates after batting practice.
"I asked him for forgiveness as well as my teammates. It was my mistake," Puig said. "I'll be here early tomorrow."
Puig wasn't used as a pinch hitter because Mattingly said the situation didn't call for it. He also said he thought not allowing Puig to play was more fitting punishment than fining him a couple hundred dollars.
There is no doubting Puig's ability. He hit .319 with an on-base percentage near .400 last season as a rookie. He also had 19 home runs and 11 stolen bases.
The questions are more about his maturity level.
As the Dodgers wrapped up their series against the Arizona Diamondbacks in Australia in March, Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles reported that manager Don Mattingly wasn't sure the organization was handling its young star properly.
Mattingly has benched Puig before, and Saxon's report included quotes from Mattingly from the end of last season in which he talked about the situation:
Leave it to me, it'd be one way, but that's not necessarily the way the organization wants things to go. I just think there has to be a development system that we adhere to with Yasiel, along with all the other guys.
Showing up late for the first game at home is just the latest example of Puig not sticking to the status quo, and he'll find himself on the bench as a result.
Do you think the benching will have an impact on Puig?
Looking ahead, it's unclear whether simply removing him from the lineup will cause him to change his ways. It's also a lot easier to overlook these types of minor issues when he continues to play well on the field.
But it's clear Mattingly, a longtime former player with a successful track record, is trying everything in his power to get Puig to carry himself the right way. The young outfielder would be wise to pay attention to the wake-up calls his manager is trying to deliver.
In the short term, being able to slip Matt Kemp in your lineup at a moment's notice is a nice luxury to have for the Dodgers.