Major League Baseball announced the conclusion of its investigation into Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig on Wednesday, with the Cuban native avoiding punishment.
In its statement, MLB said the league was unable to find evidence Puig was physical with his sister. However, in the event they are presented with such evidence or any new information, the investigation may be reopened.
Less than 10 minutes after the formal announcement, Puig hit his first home run of Spring Training. “Alex Guerrero has been telling me to stop hitting groundballs to short because I’m going to hurt my hamstring,” Puig said through a translator on Wednesday.
“So I went ahead and hit a home run.” After a rocky offseason in which he was often at the center of negative headlines, the polarizing outfielder has largely flown under the radar at Camelback Ranch.
“From day one, he’s been in a good space mentally,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said after his club’s win against the Colorado Rockies. He also credited Puig with not becoming distracted by the investigation, but believes an officially ruling will suit him well.
“I think he did a good job focusing on the task at hand,” Roberts said. “But, obviously until there’s a resolution or final decision, it still is kind of lingering. Now that we’ve got a finality, we can move forward.”
Puig also dismissed the idea he was distracted by the lengthy investigation that began last November. “I was just working hard and doing what I have to do,” he said. “Obviously, the situation was out of my hands and I just had to keep doing what I was doing.
“I’ve been concentrated on the season the entire time. Just because I hit a home run today doesn’t mean anything.” Puig is coming off a down season in which he batted .255/.322/.436 with 11 home runs, 38 RBIs, .328 wOBA, 111 wRC+, 66 strikeouts and 22 walks in 311 plate appearances over a career-low 79 games.
He spent the offseason shedding weight at the behest of Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman, and while Spring Training results may not reflect Puig’s work, Roberts is pleased with what he’s seen from his outfielder’s
“I really don’t know the numbers, but I know my eyes tell me he’s had good at-bats,” Roberts said. “He’s hit the ball hard and for him to elevate a ball today was good to see. He’s playing good baseball.