Opening Day at Dodger Stadium is typically surrounded with plenty of excitement and fanfare. 2014’s version included a bit of controversy surrounding two Los Angeles Dodgers outfielders. As expected, Matt Kemp was reinstated from the disabled list, but he was not in the starting lineup. According to media members who were on hand, Kemp was visibly frustrated with not starting.
That changed however, as Yasiel Puig arrived late to Dodger Stadium and was subsequently scratched from the lineup. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly inserted Kemp into center field and Puig’s spot in the batting order. As with anything Puig is associated with, news of his late arrival furthered the narrative that the young Cuban is out of control and lacks respect. Following the game, Mattingly downplayed the situation and offered some clarity on the situation, via ESPNLA’s Arash Markazi:
Mattingly on Puig: "I think he truly thought it was later…it was a mistake that he made and we move on. I don't think it was a huge deal."
— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) April 4, 2014
Coming from a different upbringing than most others, Puig has seemingly had to learn through his mistakes, dating back to last season. During a post game interview, Puig assumed full responsibility for the late arrival. The mishap comes one day after reports surfaced Puig sought out advice from Seattle Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim first baseman Albert Pujols.
It’s also on the heels of Puig calling the team meeting where he asked his teammates to help with his development. Incidentally, the meeting was held in the wake of Mattingly’s critical remarks of Puig over his base running and tendency to claim injury when he struggles at the plate.
Puig will likely get the opportunity to redeem himself on the field when the Dodgers and San Francisco Giants meet for the second game in the series on Saturday.
ICYMI: Matt Kemp Ready To Return In Home Opener, Yasiel Puig Seeks Advice From Baseball Veterans.