So much for “somewhere between a day and two weeks.”
It took less than a day for Yasiel Puig to return to the field at Dodger Stadium, defying Don Mattingly‘s pregame prognostication and appearing as a surprise pinch-hitter with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth inning.
Puig swung at the first pitch he saw from San Francisco Giants closer Sergio Romo and grounded into a forceout, with shortstop Brandon Crawford throwing to second baseman Nick Noonan to record the final out of the Giants’ 4-3 win at Dodger Stadium on Sunday.
“I was ready just like every other player,” Puig said through an interpreter of his pinch-hitting appearance. “They came to me to hit and I was ready for it. Sadly it didn’t turn out like I wanted it to, but I was prepared just like the other guys.”
Puig said he received treatment on his stiff left hip before the game, and was held out of the starting lineup at the request of Dodger trainers. Nick Buss started in right field for the first time in his major-league career, and Dee Gordon led off for the Dodgers.
Buss was on third base and Gordon was on second when Adrian Gonzalez stepped to the plate with two outs in the ninth inning against Romo. Gonzalez, who drove in all three Dodger runs with a bases-clearing double in the fifth inning, was intentionally walked with Puig in the on-deck circle.
“At the beginning of the game I knew he could pinch hit,” Mattingly said.
That was in direct contrast to his pregame remarks.
Take it with a grain of salt, but Puig believes he might be able to play during the Dodgers’ three-game series in Phoenix.
“With the treatment they’re giving me, it shouldn’t be long before I’m back in the lineup,” he said.