LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Los Angeles Dodgers held a team meeting to address young star Yasiel Puig’s baserunning blunders.
Manager Don Mattingly called the meeting Tuesday after the 23-year-old Cuban defector made two mistakes on the basepaths during the Dodgers’ season-opening, two-game trip to Australia last weekend — mistakes that made headlines in the media.
“I thought it was a really good meeting, actually,” Mattingly said Thursday. “But again, it’s one of those things that if guys want to talk about it, they can. I don’t think it’s something we need to talk about. … We’re just looking to get better all the time.”
ESPN.com first reported the meeting.
The dynamic right-fielder became an instant sensation last year when made his big league debut June 3 and helped lead the Dodgers from last to the NL West title. But Mattingly was often frustrated by Puig’s decision-making in the field and on the bases.
“He pushes the limit. He pushes it to the edge. But then you have to re-think it and think about all the great things he does to help you win games in ways only his talent can do,” teammate A.J. Ellis. “So there is give and take, and he’s learning. But it’s like we always say, we’d rather make an aggressive mistake than make a conservative mistake.”
Problems arose again Down Under. Puig made two errors on the bases then struck out in the ninth inning Saturday against the Arizona Diamondbacks. He then did not take his position in right field for the bottom of the ninth, complaining of a back problem.
An MRI was negative, but Puig missed the team’s workout on Tuesday at Dodger Stadium to get treatment.
“It’s up to us to help him in that maturity process, and the way we do that is to support him and encourage him no matter what,” Ellis said. “Hopefully we can all be good examples, and he can take stock and inventory of how the professionals in this clubhouse go about their business.”