MLB

Did LA win battle, lose war with Puig?

The FOX Sports Live panel debates Don Mattingly's benching of Yasiel Puig.
The FOX Sports Live panel debates Don Mattingly's benching of Yasiel Puig.
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Tuesday began with Dodgers manager Don Mattingly hoping to teach Yasiel Puig, his young, brash, aggressive phenom, a lesson about being a professional.

Judging by the way it ended, Mattingly either got his message across in record time, or may have a serious problem on his hands.

After Puig showed up late to Marlins Park in Miami, the Dodgers skipper had a closed-door meeting with Puig, from which the rookie emerged benched and fined. But in the sixth inning, in need of an outfielder and a bat in the No. 9 hole, Mattingly called on Puig in a double-switch.

Two innings later, with the score tied at 4-4, Puig did this:

And when he returned the dugout, he was treated like this:

And the Dodgers walked off the field 6-4 winners over the Marlins.

So did Puig get the message, or does he now think he is above reproach with his own manager?

One guy who knows something about the team thinks it may be the latter:

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Wrote Plaschke: "Puig's antics are the sort that will cost a team in a close game in October. For every playoff game that Puig wins with his bold arm or crazy legs, he could cost them two. But, as Tuesday proved, the Dodgers are unwilling to use an August night in Miami to address that possibility. With one swing Puig won a game, but, in playing him, the Dodgers risked losing much more."

But let's recap Puig's day:

We knew early on that Puig arrived late to the field. But Mattingly claimed that was not the reason for the benching:

Indeed, cornered by reporters before the game, Mattingly added he thought the new lineup would give the Dodgers "the best chance to win":

Puig's reason for being late apparently was that he left his family's Miami-area home too late and was stuck in traffic. He also was called to a meeting with Mattingly, apparently to discuss a rash of recent mistakes on the field:

The late arrival also led to a fine. How much? Mattingly had a hilarious reported response:

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For every good Puig headline lately, there seem to have been just as many negative. He created a stir Monday when he apparently cursed out reporters. On Sunday, our own Jon Morosi suggested the very on-field problems that Mattingly seems to be responding to should earn Puig a spot on the bench.

And then later than night Puig and some teammates reportedly partied with LeBron in South Beach. But at least his owner (you know, Magic Johnson) had his back on that one.

Some reports said Mattingly simply had been waiting for a good time to give the guy a break:

Puig entered the game hitless in his previous 11 at-bats and 6 for 35 (.171) over his past nine games, dropping his average to .351. His aggression on the basepaths and in the field — while a big part of what has made him so fun to watch — has led to some errors that Mattingly surely could do without.

But after the game, the focus shifted to Puig the power-hitting hero. Adrian Gonzalez didn't lead his postgame thoughts with the rookie, but he wasn't exactly calling for him to change his ways, either:

The company that makes his bats sure was stoked:

And look what the drama did to this cat:

Tagged: Dodgers, Marlins, Matt Kemp

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