While escaping Cuba unquestionably was a monumental moment and accomplishment for Yasiel Puig, life in the Majors has come with its share of difficulties since he debuted with the Los Angeles Dodgers in June 2013.
Puig provided a needed spark for the team that season, and his early success and tantalizing talent led to lofty expectations. But since his rookie season, Puig has largely struggled to produce on a consistent basis.
He was named an All-Star in 2014 but has suffered from hamstring injuries over the past two seasons, and last year was demoted to Triple-A Oklahoma City after failed trade attempts.
To his credit, Puig worked his way back to the Majors and by all accounts was a model teammate over the final month of the regular season. Josh Reddick signing with the Houston Astros cleared the way for Puig to regain his standing as an everyday player.
In a recent interview with that afforded Puig with the opportunity to describe and discuss himself, unfiltered, the dynamic outfielder touched on what his goals for this season are, both on and off the field, among other things:
In 15 games so far this season Puig is batting .294/.397/.588 with a team-leading four home runs and 11 RBIs. Puig isn’t focused on his home run numbers, and instead is hopeful to remain healthy, return to the All-Star Game and help the Dodgers win their first World Series since 1988.
As for off-the-field matters, Puig recently established the Wild Horse Foundation, with the name an ode to Vin Scully.
The foundation strives to aid economically disadvantaged children and families in Los Angeles, Miami and the Dominican Republic. Puig is hosting a poker tournament at Dodger Stadium on May 22, with the proceeds going toward his foundation.