Yasiel Puig — who was benched (or grounded) after his terrible baserunning — was benched again for the series opener against the Padres tonight. Puig, along with the rest of the Dodgers, was notified of early batting practice before Monday’s series opener. After being benched because of his terrible baserunning, Dave Roberts was planning on having Puig play tonight. However, Puig arrived late to batting practice and Roberts benched him for the second straight game.
This is the third straight day that Dave Roberts has expressed irritation with Puig. Roberts was frustrated with his right fielder on Saturday when he chose not to slide while trying to steal second base. Roberts was still frustrated with him on Sunday and Puig was taken out of the lineup. Now, when Puig had a chance for redemption, he showed up late for batting practice.
I was not irritated with Puig after his baserunning mistake. He claimed he hurt his ankle and if that is true, I will not hold it against him. However, I think that it is completely unacceptable to show up for batting practice late. When the Dodgers were in Philadelphia, Alex Verdugo got in trouble for showing up late for BP. Now, Puig — who is much more mature than when he was under Don Mattingly — is in trouble for the same reason.
Dave Roberts expressed that he was forced into making the decision when he said, “I think that where we’re at right now, it has to be very clear to everyone in the clubhouse that the only purpose is to prepare for the postseason and for it to be all about us. No one player can be bigger than the team. For me, right now, that was a decision that he made, not me.”
Puig was not on the field during warmups and Roberts plans to have a conversation with Puig. I, personally, think that this conversation needs to be a long one, with Doc doing most of the talking.
“I’m very disappointed,” Roberts said. “He’s made tremendous strides, he’s had a tremendous season and I never like talking about particular players in the context, especially this time of the year. This is something, again, it’s unfortunate. All year long he’s been great. He and I have talked all year long about accountability, and he has to be accountable.
So, will Puig respond to being grounded? Will he shape up and help the Dodgers win the World Series? Or will we see Puig acts as if he doesn’t care? Will the bench become the new normal for the Wild Horse? I sure hope that doesn’t happen. I, along with many others, will be keeping my eye on Puig. The question we hope to answer is: will he stay on the bench or will we see the return of the Wild Horse?