On Monday night, young Cuban outfielder Yasiel Puig made his much-anticipated debut in front of 37,055 fans at Dodger Stadium. It's safe to say that every single one of them went home happy.
Puig dazzled in his first MLB game, collecting a single in his first at-bat and making an amazing throw to nab San Diego Padres outfielder Chris Denorfia for an incredible game-ending double play in L.A.'s 2-1 victory at home.
However, on Tuesday night, Hanley Ramirez was returning to the lineup after just over a month. Ramirez started the season on the disabled list with a fractured thumb, returned on April 29 and played just four games before injuring his hamstring.
Now, just over a month later, Ramirez was returning once again. His return was expected to be the big story for the Los Angeles Dodgers on this night. But Puig had other ideas.
Ramirez did return, and while that's a big deal, Puig's performance completely outshone the star shortstop.
Puig doubled to right field to start his night in the first inning. After grounding out in the third inning, L.A.'s 22-year-old star prospect stepped up in the bottom of the fifth with two runners on, one out and the Dodgers trailing, 5-2.
It was the perfect time for Puig to deliver his first-ever major league home run.
And the blast off starter Clayton Richard's first offering tied the game at 5-5.
But Puig wasn't done. Far from it, in fact. In the bottom of the seventh, after Luis Cruz doubled home Skip Schumaker to put the Dodgers ahead 7-6, Puig followed up with his second home run, giving the Dodgers a three-run cushion.
So, let's review. Two home runs, three hits and five RBI on the night. Two hits in his debut along with an astounding game-ending play on the field. Yeah, I'd say that overshadows the return of Ramirez.
Puig's efforts Tuesday night were indeed extraordinary. ESPN Stats & Info shares:
Another little tidbit from ESPN:
And one more:
Would you say that ESPN is a little jazzed about Puig's early returns in the bigs? Well, it's not alone. One fan had no problem making comparisons of the young outfielder:
Ramirez, meanwhile, was hitless in his return (0-for-3), but he did deliver a sacrifice fly to score Mark Ellis in the fifth inning.
There's no doubt that the return of Ramirez will help the Dodgers in their quest to dig themselves out of their hole in the NL West. But for now, it's all about Puig.
And considering his efforts thus far in a span of 24 hours, it should be all about him.
Doug Mead is a featured columnist with Bleacher Report. His work has been featured in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, SF Gate, CBS Sports, the Los Angeles Times and the Houston Chronicle.
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