Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig got off to a strong start this season, which lent further credence to the notion he’d turn the corner after a down 2015. In his first 10 games, he batted .405/.500/.622 with one double, two triples, one home run, five RBIs and five walks in 44 plate appearances.
However, the tides quickly changed for Puig as he went on to hit .197 after April 20. In 53 games, the Cuban native is batting .237/.283/.360 with five home runs, 20 RBIs, and 43 strikeouts to just nine walks.
Things went from bad to worse for Puig when he was scratched from the lineup on May 31 due to tightness in his left hamstring. The Dodgers did not believe the injury to be serious, but the 25 year old landed on the disabled list less than one week later.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Puig has used the time on the DL to refine the mechanics of his swing, according to Bill Plunkett of the OC Register:
“He’s working on shortening his swing a little bit, his stroke and getting his direction a little better,” Roberts said, echoing criticisms of Puig’s mechanics that he has voiced before. “As he was attacking the baseball, he was getting a little too rotational. So we’re trying to clean that up.”
Puig is scheduled to begin his rehab assignment on Monday with High-A Rancho Cucamonga, and Roberts projected the outfielder will rejoin the club after one week.
In addition to his offensive struggles, Puig has also committed mental mistakes this season, an issue that has plagued him since he entered the league.
In late May, Puig was benched for not running hard out of the box on a ball that he thought he hit out of the park, but actually hit off the wall and resulted in a long single.
On another occasion against the San Diego Padres, Puig was on second base in a bunt scenario with less than two outs. A.J. Ellis laid down the sacrifice bunt, but Puig did not advance to third and remained on second. And the Dodgers needed 17 innings to come away with a win.
Once Puig returns, the Dodgers figure to run out an outfield consistent of, Trayce Thompson, Joc Pederson and Puig, from left to right.