In his time in the Majors Yasiel Puig has been both commended by the Los Angeles Dodgers and their fans, and criticized by the rest of the league for his style of play. Beyond the bat flips and controversy surrounding Puig, it is the way he plays the game of baseball that people seem to focus on rather than his mentality.
Puig suffered a hamstring strain and was placed on the disabled list for the first time in his career. He advanced to a rehab assignment but aggravated the injury in his second game with High-A Rancho Cucamonga. Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman discussed Puig’s efforts to get back potentially prematurely, via Bill Plascke of the Los Angeles Times:
I think he was trying to play through, and, on one hand, I don’t really fault him,” Friedman said. “I’d rather him be 100% honest, but he’s a really good competitor. I much prefer this mentality than one where you put your feet up and say I’m out for six weeks no matter what, and then I’ll come back. If anything, he was trying too hard.”
Although Puig’s lack of communication with the staff may have led to him re-injuring the hamstring, Friedman believes it won’t be an issue going forward:
We had a lot of conversation with him about how important it was to trust our medical staff, and how we could have avoided a month’s setback for just a week’s setback,” Friedman said. “If this is the biggest problem we have, this is a good problem. It’s just a learning process. He hasn’t been through this before. I expect the next time this happens, it will be handled by everyone better than it has this time.”
With Puig out of the lineup Andre Ethier has capitalized on becoming the everyday starter in right field, slashing .306/.396/.532. Manager Don Mattingly said Puig, who is batting .279 with two home runs and four RBIs in 11 games played, has recently advanced to running curved lines and may soon begin another rehab assignment.