Mattingly: Prospect Puig to start in minors

PHOENIX – Outfield prospect Yasiel Puig won’t start the season in the major leagues, Manager Don Mattingly said Thursday.

Asked if the 22-year-old Cuban was under consideration for a place on the Dodgers’ opening day roster, Mattingly replied, “Not really in my mind. If we’re going to be realistic about it, it’s probably not the best thing for him. He probably doesn’t want to hear that, but I don’t realistically think that’s the best thing. I don’t think our organization thinks that the best thing for a guy that has the number of at-bats he’s got.”

Puig is batting .424 with one home run and six runs batted in 16 spring games.

“He’s played well,” Mattingly said. “He did a lot of good things. We see a lot of things that tell us he’s still young and needs to keep working.”

The Dodgers signed Puig to a seven-year, $42-million contract last year.

How close is Puig to being major-league ready?

“I don’t know,” Mattingly said. “It’s hard to say. We’ll kind of see over the course of the summer. He’ll let us know. If he’s ready, then he’s going to dominate down there.”

-Dylan Hernandez