Puig gets some rest for legs

Los Angeles Times - - SPORTS - By Pe­dro Moura pe­dro.moura@la­times.com Twit­ter: @pe­dro­moura

PHOENIX — Dodgers man­ager Dave Roberts elected not to start right fielder Yasiel Puig in Thurs­day’s se­ries fi­nale against Arizona. Roberts cited some mi­nor ail­ments in Puig ’s legs as the im­pe­tus for his de­ci­sion.

Roberts said Puig is nurs­ing sore­ness within his ham­string and around his knee. This lat­est it­er­a­tion of ham­string sore­ness orig­i­nated in Tues­day’s fifth in­ning, when Puig sprinted to beat out an in­field single. Roberts thought the knee issue stemmed from a play Puig made to steal a home run in the next in­ning.

“With his leg his­tory, just want to stay ahead of it,” Roberts said be­fore Thurs­day’s game. “Main­te­nance. You saw him run last night, at­tempt to steal a base. It’s not some­thing where he couldn’t play tonight.”

Puig did play in Thurs­day’s game, tak­ing right field in the sev­enth in­ning.

Af­ter his win­ning single Wed­nes­day, Puig joked that he would rather have won the game with a home run than a single so he didn’t have to use his ham­strings.

Roberts also viewed Thurs­day as an op­por­tu­nity to pro­vide Joc Ped­er­son a start against a left-handed pitcher and, ideally, build off his slump-bust­ing single in Wed­nes­day’s win. Ped­er­son manned cen­ter, while En­rique Her­nan­dez played right field. Though Ped­er­son bats left-handed and Puig right, Ped­er­son has be­come a com­pa­ra­ble op­tion against left-han­ders.

Puig has suf­fered a re­mark­able run of poor luck against left-handed pitch­ing this sea­son, mys­ti­fy­ing the team and pro­duc­ing im­prob­a­ble re­verse splits.

De­spite more walks than strike­outs in 102 plate ap­pear­ances, Puig is hit­ting .149 with a .472 on-base-pluss-lug­ging per­cent­age. Both marks rep­re­sent roughly half of his sta­tis­tics against right-handed pitch­ing, though he has put the ball in play far less of­ten against right-han­ders.

In 2015 and 2016, Puig hit left-han­ders bet­ter than right-han­ders. His role upon his re­call last Au­gust was specif­i­cally to play against left-han­ders, in a pla­toon with trade-dead­line ac­qui­si­tion Josh Red­dick.

Now is the op­po­site. Left­handers have started five of the last six games Puig has rested, dat­ing to June 27.

Roberts has said Puig in­formed him he is not see­ing the ball well from cer­tain left-handed throw­ing an­gles. The man­ager noted that Puig will play Friday at Dodger Sta­dium against San Diego starter Clay­ton Richard, who is left-handed.

Short hops

Roberts said there has been no change to the sta­tus of in­jured pitch­ers Scott Kazmir and Bran­don McCarthy, who were with the team for the se­ries in Phoenix. The two vet­eran starters are mak­ing more than $29 mil­lion be­tween them this sea­son, and both are un­der con­tract for 2018. McCarthy has made 16 starts while bat­tling blis­ters and a re­turn of the yips. Kazmir has not pitched at all in the ma­jor leagues be­cause of hip is­sues and arm fa­tigue. His triple-A re­hab as­sign­ment was cut short last month. … As his triple-A re­hab as­sign­ment con­tin­ues, first base­man Adrian Gon­za­lez (her­ni­ated disk) home­red Thurs­day.

Chris­tian Petersen Getty Images

YASIEL PUIG didn’t start Thurs­day’s game be­cause of mi­nor leg ail­ments, but he ended it in right field.

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