Dodgers’ Puig held out of starting lineup at Miami

Yasiel Puig was held out of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ starting

lineup Tuesday night, and manager Don Mattingly described the

decision as a one-day move made because of the rookie’s slump.

Puig came in to play right field in a double switch in the sixth

inning and hit a tiebreaking home run in the eighth to help the

Dodgers to a 6-4 win against the Miami Marlins.

The 22-year-old Cuban was late arriving at the ballpark for

pregame drills, but Mattingly said the decision to sit him had

already been made.

”Yasiel has been struggling,” Mattingly said. ”Actually the

whole front part of our lineup has been struggling. And it just

seemed like the right time.”

Before the homer, Puig was hitless in his past 11 at-bats and

batting .171 (6 for 35) over his past nine games, dropping his

average to .351.

Puig received a standard fine for his late arrival, Mattingly

said, and was summoned for a closed-door meeting with the

manager.

Puig has a home in Miami and said he encountered heavy traffic

during the drive to the ballpark.

”He left a little bit late,” Mattingly said.

Puig was replaced in right field by Skip Schumaker. It was the

fifth game Puig hasn’t started since his major league debut June

3.

He has emerged as a top contender for NL Rookie of the Year

while leading the Dodgers’ surge to the top of the division. He

also has been criticized for poor throws from the outfield,

baserunning mistakes and a brazen demeanor.

Puig erupted angrily after being called out on strikes Monday

against the Marlins, arguing with the umpire and continuing his

tirade in the dugout.

”That’s just emotion,” Mattingly said. ”That’s just the way

he’s going to play. I don’t want to take that emotion from him. I

like the energy he plays with.”

However, Mattingly said Puig needs to convey his objections to

umpires differently.

”They’re going to talk, and any call that’s close, he’s not

going to get,” Mattingly said. ”You want him to learn the umpire

language. There’s a way to talk to those guys and act around those

guys. That’s part of the maturing process for him too.

”All the things we see are part of the maturity of a guy coming

from a different country who is in the major leagues all of a

sudden and having huge success. And part of our job is to help him

mature and handle all that, and I don’t know if we can do that

overnight.”