Originally posted on FOX Sports  |  Last updated 8/21/13
Tuesday began with Dodgers manager Don Mattingly hoping to teach Yasiel Puig, his young, brash, agressive phenom, a lesson about being a professional. Judging by the way it ended, Mattingly either got his message across in record time, or may have a serious problem on his hands. After Puig showed up late to Marlins Park in Miami, the Dodgers skipper had a closed-door meeting with Puig, from which the rookie emerged benched and fined . But in the sixth inning, in need of an outfielde and a bat in the No. 9 hole, Mattingly called on Puig in a double-switch. Two innings later, with the score tied at 4-4, Puig homered on his first swing in his first at-bat, returning to a hero's welcome in the clubhouse and eventually giving the Dodgers a 6-4 win over the Marlins . So, did Puig get the message, or does he now think is above reproach with his own manager? Our 'FOX Sports Live' crew debates. Video: Puig gets the last laugh One guy who knows something about the team thinks it may be the lattter: Benching Yasiel Puig is a good first step for Dodgers http://t.co/TY1CaEHzvy -- Bill Plaschke (@BillPlaschke) August 21, 2013 Wrote Plaschke: " Puig's antics are the sort that will cost a team in a close game in October. For every playoff game that Puig wins with his bold arm or crazy legs, he could cost them two. But, as Tuesday proved, the Dodgers are unwilling to use an August night in Miami to address that possibility. With one swing Puig won a game, but, in playing him, the Dodgers risked losing much more. " But let's recap Puig's day . We knew early on that Puig arrived late to the field. But Mattingly claimed that was not the reason for the benching: Mattingly said Puig was not starting Tuesday because he's been struggling at the plate. Not because of late arrival. -- Ken Gurnick (@kengurnick) August 20, 2013 Indeed, Cornered by reporters before the game, Mattingly added he thought the new lineup would give the Dodgers "the best chance to win": Video: Mattingly on Puig's starting lineup omission Puig's reason for being late was apparently that he left his family's Miami-area home too late and was stuck in traffic. He was also called to a meeting with Mattingly, apparently to discuss a rash of recent mistakes on the field: Mattingly said his meeting w/Puig was to let him know he isn't in lineup and talked about the baseball mistakes and why he was late today. -- David Vassegh (@THEREAL_DV) August 20, 2013 The late arrival also led to a fine. How much? Mattingly had a hilarious reported response: Puig was fined for late arrival today. Mattingly: "More than a dollar. Less than 10,000". Told Mattingly he got caught in traffic. #Dodgers -- Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) August 20, 2013 For every good Puig headline lately, there seem to have been just as many negative. He created a stir Monday when he apparently cursed out reporters . On Sunday, our own Jon Morosi suggested the very on-field problems that Mattingly seems to be responding to should earn Puig a spot on the bench. And then later than night Puig and some teammates reportedly partied with LeBron in South Beach . But at least his owner (you know, Magic Johnson) had his back on that one . Some reports said Mattingly had simply been waiting for a good time to give the guy a break: Mattingly's been wanting to give Puig a day off for a while. Was hoping to avoid the appearance this was in response to any one thing. -- Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) August 20, 2013 Puig entered the game hitless in his previous 11 at-bats and 6 for 35 (.171) over his past nine games, dropping his average to .351. His aggression on the basepaths and in the field -- while a big part of what has made him so fun to watch -- has led to some errors that Mattingly surely could do without. But after the game, the focus shifted to Puig the power-hitting hero. Adrian Gonzalez didn't lead his postgame thoughts with the rookie, but he wasn't exactly calling for him to change his ways, either: Video: Puig's pinch-hit homer leads Dodgers The company that makes his bats sure was stoked: Pinch hit HR by @YasielPuig with his #trinitybat #MC37 #teamtrinitybats #Dodgers pic.twitter.com/AwlknCHsA4 -- Trinity Bat Company (@TrinityBatco) August 21, 2013 And look what the drama did to this cat: Yasiel Puig.. We bench him.. Then he hits the go ahead homer. -- Captain Morgan (@Morgan_CutEm32) August 21, 2013
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