Dodgers take phenom Yasiel Puig out of harm's way after finding himself in the middle of a bench-clearing brawl.
By RAHSHAUN HAYLOCKFS West
LOS ANGELES — Yasiel Puig’s teammates already know he’s tough. One of the many concerns they had on Tuesday night was keeping him out of the bedlam that broke loose in the bottom of the seventh inning of the
Dodgers' 5-3 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks at Dodger Stadium.
Puig was hit in the nose by an Ian Kennedy pitch in the bottom of the sixth inning. The Kennedy pitch "flicked" Puig’s nose, according to a Dodgers spokesperson. He was down in the batter’s box as the Dodgers training staff administered a concussion test.
As the 42,844 Dodger faithful gasped for their collective breath, halfway through the concussion test, the training staff realized they needed an interpreter for Puig.
After both sides were thought to be even (Diamondbacks catcher Miguel Montero was hit by Dodgers starter Zack Greinke in the next half inning), it was Kennedy going high and tight once again — this time beaning Greinke in the shoulder in the bottom of the seventh.
That started the brawl with Puig among the first Dodgers out of the dugout and in the middle of it. It was the second time in the game the benches cleared, but
the exchange that ensued was more heated.
Puig had to be restrained and taken out of the mix by a group of teammates that included Luis Cruz and
new closer Kenley Jansen, just prior to coming on and collecting his third save of the season.
“We were just trying to get him out of the pot,” Cruz said. “We don’t want him to get hurt or something. He lost it for a little bit too and it’s normal. We came from different countries — me from Mexico and he’s from Cuba — and if that happens that’s a fight so we just try to get him out of there and hopefully he can come back and play tomorrow.”
Despite his teammates' efforts, Puig, who did not speak to reporters following Tuesday night’s game, was ejected following the brawl.
"He was instigating," third base umpire Larry Vanover said following the game.
It took his dismissal for Puig to be removed from the lineup. In addition to being hit in the nose, he grounded out in the second inning and pulled up with what appeared to be some type of leg injury. However, following the game, Dodgers skipper Don Mattingly said it was just a cramp.
He showed no ill-effects of cramps in the third when he raced into foul territory to make a catch against the wall to retire Arizona shortstop Didi Gregorius.
Despite being down for several minutes after getting hit by Kennedy’s pitch in the nose, he put his batting helmet back on and ran to first base.
“He’s a man,” Skip Schumaker said of Puig. “I think, luckily, it was a glancing blow and it wasn’t anything worse than that. He’s a stud. We’re glad he’s on our team.”
For the second time in his nine-game big league career he was hitless, going 0 for 2 on the night. In addition to being hit by a pitch, he also scored a run.