Yasiel Puig moves from leadoff to cleanup.

Yasiel Puig

Yasiel Puig will try on a new role Tuesday: Cleanup hitter. (Andy Holzman/Staff photographer)

Yasiel Puig is batting fourth for the Dodgers tonight against the Arizona Diamondbacks. The sensational rookie led off his first seven major league games, but Dodgers manager Don Mattingly believed the time was right to make a switch.

“I would prefer him honestly a little bit lower down at the beginning where he can run and do some things,” Mattingly said, “but with what’s going on we have to try to put the best lineup out there that gives us the best chance to win, the best chance to score runs. We’re running out there with Nick (Punto) and Mark Ellis — somebody’s got to drive in runs and it makes a lot more sense to allow hopefully those guys can get on up front for Adrian (Gonzalez) and Yasiel in the middle there and we have a chance to score some runs.”

Mattingly cautioned last week that Puig’s time at the top of the order might be temporary. On Monday, he hinted that Puig could move again soon.

“I really like him 1, 2 — that area — because I think he’s exciting up there and he changes the game,” the manager said. “I think maybe just for today or for a few games, until we get some guys back, this may be a spot that gets the best chance to win. I don’t think it messes him up.

“Hitting’s hitting,” Mattingly joked, “and he is possibly one of the greatest players that ever lived so I figured…”

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About J.P. Hoornstra

J.P. Hoornstra covers the Dodgers, Angels and Major League Baseball for the Orange County Register, Los Angeles Daily News, Long Beach Press-Telegram, Torrance Daily Breeze, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Pasadena Star-News, San Bernardino Sun, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Whittier Daily News and Redlands Daily Facts. Before taking the beat in 2012, J.P. covered the NHL for four years. UCLA gave him a degree once upon a time; when he graduated on schedule, he missed getting Arnold Schwarzenegger's autograph on his diploma by five months.