LOS ANGELES — Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig was late to an early batting practice session on Monday, earning him a place on the bench and criticism from his manager for the second time in as many days.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said “when you show up late for work, there have to be consequences.”
“That was a decision that I think he made, not me,” Roberts said.
It’s the first time Puig has been benched for tardiness since April 2014, when he overslept on opening day of the regular season. He did not comment on the situation to reporters before Monday’s game.
The 26-year-old outfielder’s latest transgression comes at a bad time. The best-of-5 National League Division Series begins a week from Friday. The Dodgers had the major leagues’ best record at 99-57 through Sunday. While most players are trying to tune up for the postseason, or audition for a spot on the NLDS roster, Puig can’t seem to escape Roberts’ doghouse.
Roberts held Puig out of the starting lineup on Sunday following a controversial play in the ninth inning of Saturday’s game against the San Francisco Giants. Puig was caught stealing second base to end that game, a 2-1 loss.
Afterward, Puig said through an interpreter that he felt pain in his ankle the moment he was set to slide. He went into the base standing up instead and was tagged out. Roberts called Puig’s actions inexplicable and a “bad baseball play.” Roberts said that Puig was never treated for an injury.
In his pregame media session Sunday, Roberts stressed the importance of being able to trust every player in his lineup. That night, Puig received text messages reminding him of the 3 p.m. Monday batting practice. Being tardy can only jeopardize the trust Puig had earned in a season without controversy.
“It is very disappointing, but he’s made tremendous strides and he’s had a tremendous season,” Roberts said. “I never like talking about particular players – especially in this context, especially this time of year. This is something that, again, it’s unfortunate. All year long he’s been great. He and I have talked many times about accountability. This is one of those situations where he has to be accountable.”
No player has appeared in more games for the Dodgers this season than Puig (147). He hadn’t been held out of the starting lineup in back-to-back games since May. He has a .259 batting average, .339 on-base percentage, and a .474 slugging percentage while excelling on…