Puig hits 1st homer, won't be punished for club altercation
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) Yasiel Puig hit his first home run of the spring to help the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Colorado Rockies 7-3 on Wednesday, hours after Major League Baseball announced the outfielder won't be punished for his involvement in an altercation at a Miami nightclub last fall.
Puig connected for a solo shot in the fourth inning off Rockies starter Chad Bettis. In the fifth, Puig robbed Charlie Blackmon of a hit with a diving catch in right field.
Puig is batting .263 this spring. He said the home run had nothing to do with the MLB decision, announced nearly 30 minutes before he launched Bettis' pitch over the left-field fence.
The homer, Puig joked, was the result of advice from fellow Cuban Alex Guerrero, whose dressing stall is next to his.
''Guerrero told me to quit hitting all those grounders to shortstop or I'd hurt a hamstring,'' Puig said through a translator. ''So, I hit a homer.''
Puig sustained a swollen eye and facial bruises on Nov. 26. Miami police spokesman Delrish Moss said at the time the injuries were sustained as Puig was leaving the Blue Martini at bouncers' request following an argument with his sister.
MLB said Wednesday that it interviewed Puig and his sister and reviewed video from inside the club and the ''investigation did not uncover any witness who supported the assault allegation.'' Puig was not charged.
He was investigated under baseball's new domestic violence policy, agreed to by MLB and the players' association last August after a series of incidents involving NFL players.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts was relieved to hear that the investigation was finished.
''Now we can move forward, he can move forward,'' Roberts said. ''I think Yasiel did a good job of focusing on the job at hand. But obviously, until there's a resolution, a decision, it kind of lingered.''
Right-hander Zach Lee, a contender for the fifth spot in the Dodgers' rotation, worked three innings, giving up one run and three hits.
Andre Ethier got a big surprise when he looked at the Dodgers' lineup and saw he was the leadoff batter. It's something he's never done. He singled and walked.
''We might see him there,'' Roberts said. ''It's a discussion we should certainly have. You might see that this season. He gets on base, and if there is a matchup that we feel is a great matchup that night, to see him potentially get three at-bats against that starter, it makes sense.''
Rockies: Bettis gave up two runs and five hits in four innings. Puig homered on a changeup, the pitcher said.
''It was up,'' Bettis said. ''It was a poor pitch, right to the barrel of his bat. It's one of those pitches you want back, but it's spring training and you learn to make adjustments.''
Dodgers: Lee struck out one and walked one.
''He threw the ball well,'' Roberts said. ''Everything was working today, except the curveball. He didn't really have command or a feel for the breaking ball. But I do believe that can become a weapon for him.''
Dodgers INF Justin Turner was back at third base in his second game this spring after making his debut Monday. Turner, who underwent offseason surgery on his left knee, plans to play again on Friday. . C Yasmani Grandal was back in the lineup after sitting out a week with a bruised left forearm. . 2B Howie Kendrick made his second start at DH in two days after missing nine days with a sore right groin. . OF Carl Crawford was sidelined with a sore back.
Rockies: RHP Jeff Hoffman starts against Angels LHP Hector Santiago in Scottsdale on Thursday.
Dodgers: LHP Alex Wood is set for his first start Thursday since he was scratched from a scheduled outing Saturday with a sore left forearm. Wood faces Royals RHP Kris Medlen.