Dating back to his introductory press conference last month, Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts has been presented with various forms of the same question — how will he manage Yasiel Puig?
Viewed by many as an underachieving problem child, Puig’s success, or lack thereof, has a significant impact on the Dodgers’ prospects of winning their first World Series since 1988.
Roberts stated the goal of establishing a positive relationship with Puig, which Adrian Gonzalez believes the first-year skipper has the requisite personality and skill set to achieve as much.
At the time of being hired by the Dodgers, Roberts had yet to speak with the organization’s polarizing outfielder. A meeting between the two was expected to take place earlier this month, however it now appears that never transpired.
According to Andy McCullough of the LA Times, Roberts expects to speak with Puig at Spring Training:
Roberts blamed himself for one missed connection when he said they “were supposed to have a setup deal, but it just didn’t happen.
“We’re still working on that,” Roberts said during an appearance at Pasadena Muir High. “I think that he’s done some traveling. He’s here now. We’re still working on the complete connection. But I do know that he’s getting prepared, and he’s in good shape.”
Dodgers pitchers and catchers must report for camp by Feb. 19. Position players are due at Camelback Ranch on Feb. 24, with the first full-squad workout scheduled for Feb. 25.
Puig is currently the subject of a Major League Baseball investigation for his role in a fight outside a Miami bar last November. While the league has yet to release their findings, the 25 year old expressed little concern over the matter on Tuesday.
Limited to a career-low 79 games last season due to two stints on the disabled list caused by hamstring injuries, Puig has spent the offseason losing weight at the suggestion of Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman.