Puig Benched For Showing Up Late To Dodgers Home Opener, Kemp To Replace Him
LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The Boys In Blue were celebrating opening day at Dodger Stadium Friday afternoon as they take on longtime rivals, the San Francisco Giants, in a sold-out game.
The home opener, the first game of a three-game, series began at 1:10 p.m.
Hyun-Jin Ryu made his third start in five games for the Dodgers, who lead the NL West with a 4-1 record. Yasiel Puig was benched after showing up late to the ballpark and was replaced in the starting lineup with outfielder Matt Kemp, who was activated from the disabled list Friday morning. Kemp started in center field, making his first return to major league play since September of last season. Right-hander Ryan Vogelsong was on the mound for the Giants, who are in second place with a 3-1 record. Giants wind up winning 8-4. Puig did not make a plate appearance.
“For the first time in franchise history we’ve sold 3-million tickets before opening day,” VP of Ticket Sales David Siegel said.
The opening weekend celebrations continue Saturday when fans will be treated to a 12:30 p.m. concert by pop star Robin Thicke prior to 1 p.m. game.
Fans under 15 years old at Sunday’s 5 p.m. game will receive a free Puig Fathead.
The 52-year-old stadium has undergone several changes in the off season including adding a new outdoor bar and two restaurants, free Wi-Fi and pre-paid parking online.
“Every year you want to reinvent yourself, get a little freshness to the building,” Allister Annear, Director Retail Merchandising, said.
The team, which is baseball’s highest-paid club with a $234 million payroll, has also focused on improving vehicular and pedestrian access to the Chavez Ravine, including the return of the Dodger Stadium Express.
“The Dodgers have worked with traffic flow experts during the off-season,” Senior Vice-President, External Affairs Renata Simril said in a statement. “We are implementing several recommendations in hopes of improving our vehicular and pedestrian access. It is important to get our fans in and out of the stadium as quickly and efficiently as possible.”
Tickets to both the Saturday afternoon and Sunday evening games are still available and can be purchased here or by calling 323-DODGERS.