Yasiel Puig is cracking jokes and still very much a Dodger.

Yasiel Puig

Yasiel Puig went 3 for 5 with two doubles and two runs in his return to the Dodgers’ lineup Sunday. (Sarah Reingewirtz/Staff photographer)

Yasiel Puig packed up his belongings after the Dodgers beat the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday, along with the rest of his teammates. His “Make Baseball Fun Again” hat was hanging above his locker. (Yes, he still has a locker.)

Considering the abnormal volume of trade rumors surrounding Puig, the scene looked quite normal.

The non-waiver trade deadline is 1 p.m. Pacific Time Monday. Will Puig still be a Dodger when they play the Colorado Rockies on Tuesday?

“I could be in Colorado with Colorado,” Puig joked, “or I could be in Colorado with the Dodgers.”

Puig was in a good mood after his first start in more than a week. He played eight innings in right field, and went 3-for-5 with two doubles and two RBIs. He scored two of the Dodgers’ 14 runs.

“The most important part was that the manager gave me the opportunity and that I played eight innings,” he said.

Puig did a lot of running around as usual, and he spent some time on the bench between innings stretching out the right hamstring that’s given him so much trouble the past week.

Asked about his health, he said “I’ll never be 100 percent” — a daunting thought, if not too surprising. Puig also missed 17 games in June with a strained left hamstring. That’s the hamstring that gave him the most trouble last year, too, when he only played 79 games. Sunday was Puig’s 81st game of the 2016 season.

When healthy, Puig has batted .283 in July, with six of his 17 hits going for extra bases. If the Dodgers’ front office has been close to trading him at any point this month, Puig said he was never told.

Though he said his preference is to remain a Dodger, Puig said “I understand this is a business.”

“If I’m not here, then I’ll have to go to another team,” he added. “I came to this country to play baseball.”


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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.