Mar 14, 2014; Mesa, AZ, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder Yasiel Puig (66) during the seventh inning against the Chicago Cubs at Cubs Park. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Relax, Mattingly Isn’t Really Mad At Puig


Well not for anything that we don’t already know about. Nearly lost amidst all of the hoopla of the Dodger’s 7-5 win over the Dbacks in Saturday night’s second game of the Dodgers/Dbacks Australia series was that Yasiel Puig was removed from the game in the ninth inning.

Oy Puig, we love you, but oy-Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

At that point the Dodgers were up by a score of 7-1 and it seemed like a prudent move to do. After all the club had a long flight back to Los Angeles after the game, and it made sense to remove a few of the regulars for extra rest. Of course we didn’t know that Jose Dominguez, and the rest of the Dodger bullpen would allow four runs to the Snakes in the bottom of the ninth inning to make the game a little to close for comfort, but that’s a story for a another day.

The point is, the Dodgers had a big lead in the bottom of the ninth inning and it’s common to see managers remove a few of the regulars early in a blowout game. No biggie.

Then we hear from the powers that be, that apparently Puig has a sore back yet again. Now we know that Puig has been suffering from a sore back since the start of spring. The Dodgers have known about it, Don Mattingly has known about it, and I’m assuming that you have known about it too.

Puig had shown up to camp 20 pounds overweight, and it’s possible the extra pounds are having a bad effect on his back. Makes sense right?

Sure it does. That’s not the problem. According to Mark Saxon and his latest article, Mattingly is annoyed with Puig. Or so Mark Saxon believes so.

Puig had a poor spring. He battled the sore back and hit just .122. Compare that to last year when he hit over .500 in spring, and you have to wonder which player actually showed up this year. But those are spring games, and they don’t count.

The good players can flip the switch once the meaningful games start. Then we remember how unbelievably talented Puig is. After an 0 for 5 performance on opening night, Puig stepped up to have a very good game in game two. In the second game Puig went 3 for 5 with two runs driven in, two singles, and a double. Puig flipped that proverbial switch. the same one that the rest of the boys in blue flipped this weekend.

Puig was removed from the game in the bottom of the ninth after an at-bat where he struck out and then grabbed his back. Afte the game manager Don Mattingly replied about him crying wolf. Something about him grabbing a body part every time he whiffs. Which Puig kind of does do a lot anyways. Mattingly said that it’s possible Puig could get an MRI or a bone scan by Tuesday, but he doesn’t know for sure. Fansided.com’s Hayden Kane waxes philosophical oh the whole situation, but somewhat overreacts as most people do with puig. He even wonders if the Dodgers may eventually trade him. Of course we know that would never happen in a million years.

Ok, here’s what’s really going on here. Come and sit down and look me in the eyes here. Puig is Puig. And Mattingly is Mattingly. Puig is a 22-year old kid. So we should know that his journey to becoming a mature professional MLB player is going to be a long one. Not a short one. It’s only been a year. Let’s all calm down.

Mattingly is being himself here. If you’ve ever spoken with him after a game, you know that he can be very sarcastic, and he likes to joke around a lot. He’s Donnie Baseball. He’s going to be himself.

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Mattingly very well may be annoyed with Puig. I mean who doesn’t get annoyed with him at times. I do, you do, we all do. With the Tootblans, the overthrows to the cut-off man, the temper, etc. Puig isn’t perfect, he’s made mistakes. Again, he’s a 22-year old kid, that is going to make a few more in the long career he has ahead of him. Mattingly runs a tight clubhouse, and there is nothing to worry about on this end. If Puig really were to cause any trouble, Mattingly would take care of it behind closed doors, and we wouldn’t be talking about it. What happens in the clubhouse stays in the clubhouse, normally.

Yasiel Puig is kind of like our child. You know the type of love that your mother or father has for their son. You love your child no matter how stupid he acts sometimes. You want what’s best for him. I’m sure the back injury isn’t a big deal for him. He’ll be on the field for next Sunday’s Stateside opener in San Diego.

The important thing is that we give him time to grow up. Don’t rush him. He’s going to make a few more mistakes along the way. Did he not just get three hits in the second game? Let’s everyone calm down and take a deep breath, and give the kid a break.

Yasiel Puig is the son of Los Angeles.

Now yasiel, go sit in the corner and write 100 times on the blackboard, “I will not annoy my manager”

Tags: Don Mattingly Los Angeles Dodgers Yasiel Puig

  • Hayden Kane

    Great article Scott and thanks for the shout out! I do want to say that I asked the question about the Dodgers “trading Puig” to challenge the silly way Saxon ended his article rather than to actually suggest it would be something that would happen.

    In the end I come down on this the same way you do: this probably isn’t a story. All I meant to say is that if Saxon is onto something here, there’s nothing the Dodgers can really do except issue empty threats because in the end they are going to ride with Puig.

    • LasordasLair

      Hey Hayden thanks!

      Oh yeah I figured you were just playing devil’s advocate. No worries. It’s not really much of an issue here. Puig put on a few pounds in spring, and it’s effecting his back. Which has been bothering him since the beginning of spring. Nothing really happened. Puig has a sore back, he was pulled from the game in the ninth inning. He might have an MRI, he might not. But Mattingly just likes to joke around during the pressers. I don’t think there is anything to this.

  • El Rancho

    Well written but what other 22 year old MLB player consistently makes the same mistakes over and over again? If Puig Hit 240 Would you still be singing his praises? We all need to stop making excuses. The question we need to ask is, “Is Puig the next Milton Bradley?” We should hope so then we can get a true professional like Andre Ethier.

    • LasordasLair

      Oh yeesh, come on, you can’t compare him to Bradley. That’s a huge insult to Puig. Bradley was the worst, lolz. Anyways, the thing is, he didn’t do anything this time. What did he actually do? Nothing. Mattingly was just cracking a joke, and he did have a three-hit game that night. People need to to ease up on him, it’s not like he’s done anything that bad anyways.