Via ESPN -
Yasiel Puig is always going to be a story. The Los Angeles Dodgers just don’t want him to be the only story anyone ever talks about on a team with World Series aspirations.
So before the latest controversy with Puig had a chance to mushroom, manager Don Mattingly called a team meeting Tuesday to clear the air, sources with knowledge of the situation told ESPN.com.
A source described Puig as “very open” during the meeting and receptive to what was said.
“I asked them to please keep helping me,” Puig told ESPN.com. “Specifically with baserunning and hitting my cutoff man. I want them to help me with everything they can.”
The meeting previously was described as being between the second-year outfielder and the manager, but Mattingly wanted the entire team to have a forum to address the subject in-house, rather than have frustrations boil over or leak out through the media. Veterans Hanley Ramirez and Juan Uribe were the most vocal players during the meeting, sources said.
“It was good for everybody. Donnie just wanted to squash this, and it did,” one veteran, who asked not to be named, told ESPN.com.
Puig said he understood his teammates “wanted to help me get better” and encouraged them to approach him directly anytime they had something to say to him.
“Puig’s a good kid. He just didn’t come up through the system like we all did,” a veteran teammate said.
Afterward, Mattingly addressed the media and said of Puig, “We’re good. I’ve got no issues with Yasiel.”
There’s still time for Yasiel to get himself under control. It’s never too late – even Ruben Sierra, albeit near the end of his career and costly on the delay, got it into his head. For Puig’s sake, I hope it doesn’t take a monster humbling experience. His talent really is off the charts. If I were the Dodgers, I would get him a mentor – either a player or a coach – to be his Jiminy Cricket, and fast. It won’t be easy – since Yasiel already has the money, fame, is in Hollywood, and potentially running with the wrong crowd. In the meantime, the under/over line on the number of Puig benchings this year sits at sixteen.