A former Los Angeles Dodgers player claims Cuban defector and Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig “is the worst person I’ve ever seen in this game. Ever.”
Puig, who commanded both right and centerfield for the Dodgers since coming up to the Bigs in the summer of 2013, currently faces domestic abuse charges for assaulting his sister prior to fighting with a bouncer at a Miami bar after Puig allegedly sucker-punched him.
Via the Associated Press, Miami police spokesperson Delrish Moss stated: “At some point” Puig and a bouncer began to fight, leaving Puig with the swollen left eye and ‘minor bumps and bruises’ to his face. Moss said the bouncer got a busted lip and minor facial bruises. The spokesman said the bouncer claimed Puig sucker-punched him; Puig said the bouncer got too aggressive.”
Moss asserted that neither wanted to press charges.
A Bleacher Report article reveals the 25-year-old Puig would not win a Dodgers popularity contest. Zack Greinke once threw Puig’s suitcase onto a street in Chicago from the team bus and fellow Cy Young award winner Clayton Kershaw allegedly told the Dodgers over the winter to get rid of him. Utility player Justin Turner got so frustrated with the Cuban outfielder they almost duked it out during spring training.
Five time All-Star and Dodger first baseman Adrain Gonzalez believes Puig still has some redeemable qualities. “I’m still a guy who believes in Yasiel’s heart and where he wants to go and where he wants to be…. When I talk to him heart to heart, he explains to me that he wants to be the best he can be. Growing up, sometimes it takes awhile to break bad habits.”
Dodgers back-stop A.J. Ellis seems to think all is not lost with Puig, and there needs to be more give and take. Ellis told Bleacher Report that, ”As his teammates, we have to do a better job of encouraging him and reaching out to him. I know I do. And from Yasiel’s side, he has to continue to grow and to mature and to be accountable and understand that not all criticism is negative.”
Puig being the object of his teammates frustration suggests he may have some problems. However, Andrew Friedman, Dodgers president of baseball operations, disputed the truth to the Kershaw story.
With the arrival of new manager Dave Roberts, known as a people person according to those who played with him or for him during coaching stints, hopefully will help Puig to live up to his enormous potential. In three seasons with the Dodgers Puig owns a .294 batting average, 46 home runs, and 359 hits in just 331 games.
As far as Puig’s relationship with his former manager Don Mattingly, now leading the Miami Marlins, Bleacher Report writes that Mattingly “could barely stomach Puig by the he left.”
The same organizational sources with knowledge of the Dodgers say that former batting coach for the Dodgers Mark McGwire, now a coach for the Padres, felt the same way about Puig. When Mattingly was asked for comment on the controversial Cuban earlier in the week in Nashville he refused to comment.