Yasiel Puig’s exile to Triple-A Oklahoma City lasted one month from the calendar date he was demoted as the Los Angeles Dodgers recalled their polarizing outfielder ahead of Friday’s game with the San Diego Padres.
Puig appeared in 19 games with Oklahoma City, batting .348/.400/.594 with three doubles, four home runs and 12 RBI. That Puig had success against Triple-A pitching wasn’t a complete surprise. Nor did that earn him a call up.
“Discipline was obviously one of the most important things,” Puig said through a translator of the learning process that took place during his time in the Minors. “I also learned how to be a better teammate and be better disciplined in the clubhouse.”
“I was just doing my job in Oklahoma, doing the things I wasn’t doing here. They made the right choice in sending me down there. I was doing the correct things to come back, I’m here now, and I’m grateful for the opportunity.”
That Los Angeles attempted to trade Puig isn’t an issue he’s concerning himself with. Seemingly humbled by his time in the Minors, Puig is focused on moving forward and having an impact down the stretch of the season.
“I’m happy I was given the opportunity again. It really helped me to go down to Oklahoma City and be with the coaches there and other players,” he said. “It will help me moving forward.”
When Puig left the Dodgers, the club was still chasing the San Francisco Giants in the National League West standings.
Los Angeles can extend their lead in the division to three games with a victory on Friday night. “It feels a little strange but I’m happy I was given the opportunity to come back,” Puig said of returning.
“I was working on the things to rejoin the team, and now I’m here. I was able to see them unite as a family, play hard together and win games to get in first place. It was difficult to see them do well without me, but it also motivated me to hurry up to do my job and correct things, to be part of that family.”
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts spoke with Puig, and so did multiple teammates to share their expectations of Puig. “I know Yasiel expressed to them how difficult it was to watch his team play and have success without him,” Roberts said. ”
“There was a lot of good dialogue between those guys, everyone is on the same page. We’re excited to have him back.”