Found August 28, 2013 on Fox Sports:
This was coming. And frankly, what happened Wednesday might be the best thing for Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder Yasiel Puig. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly had talked to Puig, his coaches had talked to Puig and, in recent days, a number of the team's veterans had talked to Puig. Their message still was not getting through. So, Mattingly yanked Puig at the start of the fifth inning of the Dodgers' 4-0 win over the Chicago Cubs. And while Mattingly did not disclose the reason for Puig's benching, it clearly was a disciplinary move. A number of statistical analysts howled last week at the notion of benching Puig, noting that his various mistakes paled in importance to his overall contribution. True enough -- and beyond that, Puig, 22, still is adapting to a new country and new culture. He defected from Cuba only last year, and now he's a burgeoning star in Los Angeles with a seven-year, $42 million contract. Still, the idea here is very simple -- to help Puig become the best player he can be. And yes, the Dodgers are going about it the right way. Mattingly gained respect in his clubhouse by benching Puig, according to one Dodgers player. Puig also gained respect, the player said, by taking the advice of several veterans and accepting responsibility in his postgame remarks to the media. "I wasn't preparing well for each pitch (defensively)," Puig said through an interpreter. "It was a good decision." Puig's readiness might not have been the only issue Wednesday. He also didn't slide into second in the first inning to try and break up a double play. He made a of couple of showy snatch catches in the fourth inning. And he repeatedly was the last man to leave the bench at the start of defensive innings, one player said. Nothing terrible, just as missing the occasional cutoff man or running into the occasional out is nothing terrible. But as Dodgers infielder Jerry Hairston Jr. told me last weekend, several veterans essentially told Puig, "Hey, that's enough," pointing out that such mistakes could prove decisive in important games down the stretch or in the playoffs. Mattingly's benching of Puig likely was a culmination of various missteps; the manager also had sat Puig last week in Miami. Puig was 0-for-11 at the time, and reported that he had thrown a dugout tantrum after a called strike by home-plate umpire John Hirschbeck. Mattingly used him as a pinch-hitter later that night, and Puig hit a home run. The Dodgers know, above all else, that Puig loves to play. Take that away from him, and perhaps he will snap to attention, displaying a greater sense of awareness and professionalism. He isn't the first young player to receive such a punishment, and he won't be the last. The good news is, the Dodgers like Puig. The players say that he is quite smart, and that he understands the lessons they try to impart. But Puig, for whatever reasons, often repeats his mistakes when he gets on the field. And with some of his showmanship, he risks angering opposing clubs. Mattingly, meeting with the FOX broadcasters last Saturday, said it has been "a little bit of a struggle" to get Puig to concentrate on fundamentals, then spoke of the delicate balance the team faces in trying to help Puig refine his game. "He's an energetic player with such passion," Mattingly said. "Sometimes he goes out of control. But it's never malicious. It's never, 'I'm missing the cutoff man because I want to.' "I don't want to break this kid's spirit. I like him playing the way he plays. But like with anybody else, I just want him to play intelligently." That is what Wednesday's benching was all about. And if Puig grows from the moment, it could prove to one of Mattingly's best moves.

Yasiel Puig speaks, and is pretty funny

Cuban phenom Yasiel Puig has been the most interesting man in MLB this season. Part of Puig’s appeal has been the mystery surrounding him. He doesn’t speak English, so all of his quotes get washed through the translation machine, and since his quotes usually generate from the pre or postgame media scrum, they’re particularly vague and generic. Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes...

Puig on benching: 'I wasn't preparing well for each pitch'

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Puig's talent will grow as education increases

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Yasiel Puig benched for not sliding, loafing in outfield (Video)

Yasiel Puig has been an outstanding player for the Los Angeles Dodgers since being called up in June, but he has also been immature and committed many small mistakes. His teammates have called him out for his poor fundamentals, such as not hitting the cutoff man on throws or making baserunning mistakes. On Wednesday, Dodgers […]

Dodgers' Yasiel Puig benched, not injured

During yesterday's game, Yasiel Puig was pulled in the fifth inning by manager Don Mattingly.  There was some initial concern that he may have been hurt, but that was not the case.  Instead, Puig was benched for disciplinary reasons. According to Ken Gurnick of, Mattingly benched Puig for "effort," but neither he nor anyone else on the team would elaborate...

Yasiel Puig Not First, Hardly Will Be Last Phenom to Weather Controversy

Hopefully, Major League Baseball can survive the affront to human decency that is Yasiel Puig. We kid, of course, but hyperbole and Puig have gone hand in hand ever since the Los Angeles Dodgers phenom burst onto the scene in June. Within two weeks of his major league debut, Puig inspired comparisons to Joe DiMaggio and prompted a heated debate over whether his stellar month deserved...

Puig on benching: "I wasn't preparing well for each pitch"

Dodgers rookie Yasiel Puig found himself back in hot water and back in the manager's office on Wednesday for what appeared to be a lack of game preparation -- or perhaps a lack of effort. There was no direct explanation but Puig was pulled after the fourth inning of the Dodgers' 4-0 win over the Chicago Cubs. The reason he said was a failure to prepare defensively in right...

Yasiel Puig Situation Handled Perfectly by Don Mattingly, Who Really Had No Choice But to Bench Polarizing Slugger

Don Mattingly had no choice. Mattingly’s handling of Cuban phenom Yasiel Puig has been one of the most polarizing topics of the baseball season, with the most recent buzz coming Wednesday when Mattingly benched Puig before the fifth inning of a game against the Cubs. Wednesday’s decision once again opened up the debate over whether or not Mattingly is pulling the right strings...

Yasiel Puig and Tony LaRussa face off

Los Angeles Dodgers rookie Yasiel Puig and former MLB manager Tony LaRussa went head to head on Thursday but not in the way you think. The two faced off in a game of ping pong at a tournament hosted by Clayton Kershaw to benefit his nonprofit foundation. From the photos it looks like these two were really into it too. Hopefully LaRussa gave him a little advice about baseball as...

Don Mattingly yanks Yasiel Puig

Hear from Dodgers manager Don Mattingly after he pulls Yasiel Puig from a game.

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