Dodgers bench Yasiel Puig for showing up late to home opener

By Mike Axisa | Baseball Writer

Yasiel Puig earned himself a spot on the bench Friday.
Yasiel Puig earned himself a spot on the bench Friday. (USATSI)

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The Dodgers benched Yasiel Puig for Friday's home opener because he showed up to the ballpark late. He was replaced in the lineup by Matt Kemp, who was activated off the DL.

Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles says Puig showed up to batting practice at 10:26 a.m. PT, about halfway through. Puig is the most polarizing player in baseball right now, so he's under a constant microscope. It's one thing to miss the cutoff man or get picked off, but showing up to the park late is another. Definitely worthy of being benched.

Puig later apologized for his tardiness. From the AP:

"I'm sincerely sorry," Puig said through a translator after the game, explaining that he didn't realize stretching and batting practice would be held so early with a 1 p.m. start.

Puig said he apologized to manager Don Mattingly and his teammates, and they accepted.

"They felt it was OK when I owned up to it and apologized," he said. "I felt bad I wasn't out there playing for all the fans."


"He felt bad he wasn't here and I believe that," Mattingly said. "He's a good kid. Does he have to grow up and get better? Yeah, but there's a lot of guys like that."

In five games this season, the 23-year-old Puig has gone 5-for-20 (.250) with a double, a home run, and four runs driven in. He hit .319/.391/.534 (160 OPS+) with 19 homers and 11 steals in 2013, finishing second in the NL Rookie of the Year voting.

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