Dodgers News: Yasiel Puig Adhering To Andrew Friedman’s Suggestion
Dodgers News: Yasiel Puig Adhering To Andrew Friedman’s Suggestion
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Coming off disappointing season, Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig made headlines during the offseason for less-than-favorable reasons.

First, Andy Van Slyke, father of Dodgers outfielder/first baseman Scott Van Slyke, implied in an interview last November on a St. Louis radio show that Clayton Kershaw asked the front office to trade Puig.

One week later, Puig was involved in a scuffle outside a Miami bar, during which a bouncer claimed he was sucker-punched by the polarizing outfielder; Puig said he acted out of self-defense.

Compacting matters, Major League Baseball launched an investigation into Puig as the Miami incident began after the Cuban native reportedly was physical with his sister.

Evidence has not been found to support that claim, though the league’s investigation is ongoing, with MLB commissioner Rob Manfred recently stressing the importance of not rushing the process.

In December, a former teammate called Puig the ‘worst person’ he’s seen in baseball. The Dodgers have largely kept from commenting on MLB’s investigation or the scathing assessment.

However, team president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman did call on Puig to lose weight to put himself in better position to play a full season in 2016.

Puig visited the Salvation Army, Red Shield Youth and Community Center on Tuesday to play soccer with children as part of the Dodgers’ Love L.A. tour. He also took time to address his physique, via J.P. Hoornstra of the LA Daily News:

Puig did not resort to a familiar cliche by declaring himself in “the best shape of his life.” Actually, he took the opposite tack, cracking a joke when asked how much he weighs. “This year, 280,” he said in English, breaking into a grin. “I’m so fat.” After a pause, Puig said he now weighs 240 pounds. That’s 15 pounds lower than his listed weight in last year’s media guide. “I’m working to slim down,” he said. “Maybe when we go into spring training, 236 or 237.”

Although he doesn’t necessarily see a connection between what a scale reads and playing baseball, the 25-year-old Cuban native said he’s willing to listen if it translate to the field:

“I don’t really see a correlation between weight and how well one plays baseball, how that affects one or the other,” Puig said through an interpreter. “However, of course I’m taking (Friedman) up on that suggestion. Everyone else is encouraging me to do the same. if that’s their suggestion to become a better player, I’m absolutely on board. I’m going to do that.”

Hamstring injuries that required multiple stints on the disabled list last season limited Puig to a career-low 79 games. He hit .255/.322/.436 with 11 home runs, 38 RBIs, .328 wOBA, 111 wRC+, 66 strikeouts and 22 walks in 311 plate appearances.

In the wake of the negativity surrounding Puig, Friedman backed his outfielder last month, stating the Dodgers are better off with the dynamic talent part of the club.