Daily Distractions: Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig goes under the spring training microscope.


There were no absences, at least no expected absences, on the morning that position players were scheduled to report to spring training. The odd l That meant that a bulk of Don Mattingly‘s morning media discussion focused on Yasiel Puig.

It’s an old lesson, repeated: The guy commands attention.

Mattingly said that Puig’s greatest challenge this year will be to adjust to the pitchers who have already adjusted to him. Puig sported a cartoonish .443/.473/.745 slash line during his first 26 major-league games. In his next 29 games, he was merely great: .322/.413/.475. In his final 46 regular-season games, Puig was this: .234/.324/.437. Whatever that is.

The Dodgers’ mission to revert Puig to his June/July form begins now. That entails a lot of work behind the scenes, in the video room and in the batting cage.

“He has the same material,” Mattingly said. “He has the chance to know what pitchers are doing to him. The guys who make adjustments are the better players.”

The problem with spring training is that Puig will not face the same pitchers he’ll face during the regular season. Many will be in the minor leagues come April, with some exceptions. But if Puig bats, say, .517/.500/.828 like he did last spring, it’s not inherently a sign of progress. The numbers can lie.

In fact, Mattingly said, Puig exhibited the same outstanding strengths and mind-numbing foibles last year in Glendale that fans came to know and love (and occasionally hate) by June. On the field at least, Puig didn’t progress by leaps and bounds over the course of camp.

“What we saw in spring last year was what we saw during the season,” Mattingly said.

The same could be true again this spring. Many will be watching.

While I was driving through the desert yesterday, USA Today’s Jorge Ortiz caught up with Puig.

Some bullet points for a World Radio Day:
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Source: Dodgers have expressed an interest in free agent Suk-Min Yoon.

The Dodgers are among several major-league teams that have expressed an interest in free-agent pitcher Suk-Min Yoon, a source told the L.A. News Group on Wednesday.

Multiple teams have recently reached out to Yoon’s agent, Scott Boras. The Baltimore Sun reported today that the Orioles are one of “several” teams that have extended an offer. It’s unknown if the Dodgers are in that group, or how competitive their offer is.

The Orioles and Texas Rangers are reportedly the front-runners for the 27-year-old right hander. Both teams have starting rotation vacancies to fill, and Yoon has told reporters that he prefers to start.

Yoon is a three-time KBO All Star and 2011 MVP who starred in the 2009 World Baseball Classic for Korea. He announced his intention to pursue a major-league contract after going 3-6 with a 4.00 earned-run average for the Kia Tigers in 2013.

Yoon missed the beginning of the year with a shoulder injury and split the season between the bullpen and the rotation. According to the Korea Times, Yoon throws a “solid” slider among four pitches. He is the consensus best pitcher in Korea, after Hyun-Jin Ryu signed with the Dodgers in December 2012 and posted a strong rookie season.

With Josh Beckett expected to be healthy from the start of camp, the Dodgers appear to have a set five-man rotation already. Beckett missed most of last season with thoracic outlet syndrome. Right-hander Chad Billingsley is expected to return from Tommy John surgery as early as June and give the Dodgers six proven starters.

In addition to Yoon, the Dodgers have also had conversations with starter Bronson Arroyo.

Daily Distractions: Minor-league awards honor Nick Buss as one Triple-A’s best outfielders in 2013.

Nick Buss

Nick Buss led the Pacific Coast League in RBIs, with 100. (Associated Press photo)

The Triple-A All-Star team, announced Tuesday by Minor League Baseball and the Topps Company, is a real motley crew.

The group includes a 30-year-old veteran of seven seasons of independent baseball (Chris Colabello), a first-round draft pick from 2001 (J.D. Martin) and Nick Buss, the former USC outfielder who made his major-league debut at age 27 with the Dodgers in September.

Buss had a .303/.363/.525 slash line at Triple-A Albuquerque before his call-up, when he collected 2 hits in 19 at-bats as a Dodger. He had 17 home runs and 21 stolen bases, and a PCL-leading 100 RBIs after spending all of 2012 at Double-A Chattanooga.

As the Dodgers’ 40-man roster stands now, Buss is one of three outfielders behind the four well-paid supertars (Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, Carl Crawford and Yasiel Puig). Mike Baxter and Scott Van Slyke are the others.

Some bullet points for a Guy Fawkes Day:
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