Once de­moted, now pro­mot­ing

Los Angeles Times - - SPORTS - By Andy McCul­lough andy.mccul­lough@la­times.com Twit­ter: @McCul­loughTimes

NEW YORK — Yasiel Puig did not linger at Citi Field on Fri­day night. Af­ter set­ting a ca­reer high with his 20th home run this sea­son, the Dodgers right fielder took a car to Se­cau­cus, N.J., and stopped by MLB Net­work’s stu­dios to ap­pear as a guest on a live broad­cast.

The field trip amused man­ager Dave Roberts.

“Yasiel is a big ad­vo­cate of Ma­jor League Base­ball,” Roberts said be­fore Satur­day’s game against the Mets. “Peo­ple grav­i­tate to­ward him . . . . Ob­vi­ously, there’s a lot worse things a player could be do­ing in New York City.”

It was only a year ago that Puig wasn’t even in the ma­jors. The Dodgers op­tioned him to triple-A Ok­la­homa City af­ter the trade dead­line in 2016 af­ter be­ing un­able to swing a deal to get him out of L.A. Puig spent a month in the mi­nors be­fore re­join­ing the team as a bench player in Septem­ber and Oc­to­ber.

Puig has re­sponded to the de­mo­tion with some of his best base­ball since his first two sea­sons in the ma­jors. Af­ter home­r­ing again Satur­day, a tiebreak­ing shot in the sev­enth in­ning of a 7-4 Dodgers win, he has an .815 on-base-plus-slug­ging per­cent­age this sea­son, his best since 2014. Roberts also be­lieves Puig de­serves a Gold Glove for his play in right field.

“He’s continuing to grow,” Roberts said. “I think the Dodgers have won his heart over. I think he’s start­ing to un­der­stand that the most im­por­tant thing is to win base­ball games for the Dodgers, and to help the Dodgers win. And it’s not about him. And I think I can say that about ev­ery one of our guys.”

Tay­lor re­bounds

Chris Tay­lor, re­moved from Fri­day’s game as a pre­cau­tion af­ter foul­ing a pitch off his knee mid­way through the game, was back in the lineup Satur­day and home­red in the sixth in­ning.

“I just had some dead­leg,” said Tay­lor, who stayed in the game for a few in­nings be­fore Roberts took him out. “It was sore.”

Tay­lor, Cody Bellinger and Corey Sea­ger all fouled cut­ters from Mets starter Jacob deGrom off their back legs Fri­day.

A test for Wood

Alex Wood will throw a bullpen ses­sion Sun­day to gauge his readi­ness for a start next week against Ari­zona. Wood ad­mit­ted some fa­tigue af­ter his out­ing Thurs­day in At­lanta. If cleared to pitch, he would start on Wed­nes­day. Kenta Maeda is sched­uled for Tues­day and Yu Dar vish is slated for Thurs­day.

The Dodgers are not wor­ried about Wood har­bor­ing an in­jury. But Roberts men­tioned how a tired pitcher might put him­self at risk.

“In some cases, when you’re talk­ing fa­tigue, to put a pitcher or a player in harm’s way, you want to guard against that,” Roberts said.

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