Yasiel Puig hits go-ahead homer after benching by Don Mattingly (video)
It was eventful day in South Beach for Yasiel Puig. The Los Angeles Dodgers rookie phenom showed up late to the ballpark for Tuesday’s game against the Miami Marlins and was fined by the team.
Puig reportedly showed up at about 4:50 p.m. in street clothes, claiming he got stuck in traffic. According to team rules, players are expected to arrive by the time the second team bus arrives from the hotel, which was 4:15 p.m. on Tuesday.
That led to a closed-door meeting with Dodgers skipper Don Mattingly during which said fine was imposed. But Mattingly claims that Puig’s later benching was for baseball reasons and not the young man’s tardiness in arriving at Marlins Park.
Mattingly said that the fine was “More than a dollar and less than $10,000,” but when discussing Puig’s benching, said, “Everybody gets a day off.”
As far as Puig’s late arrival was concerned, Mattingly understands but that’s not good enough.
“I’m satisfied with the answer, but it doesn’t make it better,” Mattingly said. “You’ve just got to leave earlier. You get caught in traffic or whatever, it’s easy to say that, but it’s kind of like, ‘OK, that’s fine, but you’re still late.'”
But just because Puig was benched at the beginning of the game apparently did not mean the rookie wouldn’t get in the game in its later stages. And when he did, Puig made it count.
Puig entered the game in the bottom of the sixth inning as a defensive replacement. With the score tied 4-4 in the top of the eighth inning, Puig stepped to the plate, saw one pitch, and hit a go-ahead home run to deep-left center field (via MLB.com):
And the Ever-Evolving Legend of Yasiel Puig continues to grow. The Dodgers tacked on an insurance run in the ninth inning and beat the Marlins by a score of 6-4.
Mattingly acknowledged after the game that it’s tough to keep out of the lineup.
“I knew we’d make more of it, but today was more of a baseball day. I was close to doing it the other day,” Mattingly said. “It’s hard to take him out of the lineup, honestly, because it changes our lineup. But it just felt like the right time. I feel like today, the way he’s going and the way things are going, I think this lineup gives us the best chance to win today.
“I look at it as a one-day thing.”
Or a five-inning thing, to put it more accurately.