After benching & fine, Puig homers
Update (10:40 p.m. ET): Los Angeles closer Kenley Jansen gets Giancarlo Stanton to pop out to first baseman Adrian Gonzalez to give the Dodgers a 6-4 win over the Marlins.
Update (10:35 p.m. ET): The game between Los Angeles and Miami experienced a minor delay as, after Jansen asked for some work to be done on the mound in the middle of the ninth inning, FOX Sports Florida reported the grounds crew at Marlins Park could not be found. After a few minutes, the crew was found and made the repairs.
Update (10:30 p.m. ET): Yasiel Puig popped out to first base to end the top of the ninth inning, with the Dodgers leading the Marlins 6-4.
Update (10 p.m. ET): In his first at-bat of the game Tuesday night, Puig hit a solo home run in the eighth inning to give the Dodgers a 5-4 lead over the Marlins.
Update (9:30 p.m. ET): Puig was inserted into the Dodgers' lineup in the sixth inning as part of a double switch.
The Yasiel Puig saga continues.
Today's installment: A fine and a benching! The young Dodgers phenom is out of the starting lineup for Tuesday's game against the Miami Marlins, the first time he hasn't played since joining the Dodgers (and being healthy).
Why? Depending who you ask, it's either because he's been a little error-prone lately or because manager Don Mattingly just felt he needed a vacation.
Puig arrived late for Tuesday's game, but Mattingly said that had nothing to do with the benching:
Mattingly said Puig was not starting Tuesday because he's been struggling at the plate. Not because of late arrival.— Ken Gurnick (@kengurnick) August 20, 2013
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 was apparently that he left his family's Miami-area home too late and was stuck in traffic. He was also called to a meeting with Mattingly, apparently to discuss a rash of recent mistakes on the field:
Mattingly said his meeting w/Puig was to let him know he isn't in lineup and talked about the baseball mistakes and why he was late today.— David Vassegh (@THEREAL_DV) August 20, 2013
The late arrival also led to a fine. How much? Mattingly had a hilarious reported response:
Puig was fined for late arrival today. Mattingly: "More than a dollar. Less than 10,000". Told Mattingly he got caught in traffic. #Dodgers— Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) August 20, 2013
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.
Some reports said Mattingly had simply been waiting for a good time to give the guy a break:
Mattingly's been wanting to give Puig a day off for a while. Was hoping to avoid the appearance this was in response to any one thing.— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) August 20, 2013
Puig was hitless in his past 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.
The Dodgers had scored two runs in each of the past two games, both defeats, giving the NL West leaders their first two-game losing streak in two months.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.