The Dodgers won both of their season-opening games from the Arizona Diamondbacks in Sydney, Australia, but there are already signs that the maturing of Yasiel Puig as a baseball player has yet to fully ripen. The Cuban phenom is now the Dodgers part-time leadoff hitter, and in that role in Saturday's game he took the collar and struck out three times. In Sunday's games he collected three hits and a hit batter, but he also twice ran the Dodgers into outs. This after he has looked dazed and confused much of the spring and came in 26 pounds heavier than he ended last season.
After Sunday's game, ESPN Dodgers writer Mark Saxon posted his first item of the young season with a headline like this: Mattingly is running out patience with Puig.
From Saxon's earlier post.
Yasiel Puig struck out in the ninth inning of Sunday's 7-5 win and then did not return to right field in the bottom half of the inning. Before the game, Mattingly told reporters that Puig "grabs something every time he takes a swing and misses."
Asked what injury caused Puig to leave Sunday's game, Mattingly said, "I guess his back." He then seemed to react sarcastically when asked about the severity of the injury.
"Shoulder yesterday, back today, so I'm not sure if they're going to get him tests or get him to the MRI Monday or a bone scan on Tuesday, maybe," Mattingly said. "I'm not quite sure what we'll do. We may not do anything. I'm not sure."
As for Puig's running gaffes, Mattingly said only "It was a rough day." But Saxon said that veteran first baseman Adrian Gonzalez grabbed Puig as he was leaving the field and talked to him. "The two players were bantering loudly in Spanish in the Dodgers' clubhouse following the game," Saxon writes.
ESPN's Jerry Crasnick also reported Sunday that Mattingly is growing impatient with Puig. The outfielder came to camp 26 pounds heavier, but the big questions is whether he's any smarter than the kid who ended last season badly. For what it's worth, a stathead at Nate Silver's FiveThirtyEight analyzed a bunch of hitting stats a few days ago and said Puig, more than other star player, could be headed for trouble this year.
Also this: A frustrated former sports writer emails from the South Bay.
The Los Angeles Times sent a reporter thousands and thousands of miles to Australia, yet they couldn't get the final score of the Dodgers' second game in the Sunday edition (the one with the largest circulation) that was delivered to Redondo Beach.
The Daily Breeze, on the other hand, had the score, a full story and the box score.