Watch: Yasiel Puig makes diving catch, turns inning-ending double play.

CHICAGO >> Dodgers center fielder Yasiel Puig made one of the best catches you’ll see this year in the fifth inning Saturday.

Puig ran down a line-drive to the left-center field gap hit by the Chicago Cubs’ Jorge Soler, dove head-first to make the catch, then threw to second base to complete an inning-ending double play.

(His right shoulder might not look OK, but he was able to bat in the top of the sixth inning and hit a stand-up double.)

Thanks to Chad Moriyama and Daniel Brim for the GIFs:

Dodgers 11, Colorado Rockies 3: Today’s game story.

Matt Kemp

Matt Kemp points to the sky after hitting his 21st home run of the season Monday against the Colorado Rockies. (Getty Images)

DENVER >> The Dodgers won. Matt Kemp and Yasiel Puig had a little kerfuffle. Carl Crawford hurt his hamstring. Read all about that here.

Two things I want to emphasize that might not be clear on the surface:

1. Crawford wasn’t removed for precautionary reasons tonight. As he explained in my story, he was in genuine pain.

2. It’s really difficult to know what to make of the Puig-Kemp thing. Could be something, could be nothing. Could be something that happens all the time between closed doors, could be something that never happened before today. Again, we don’t really know. The truth is probably somewhere in between; if it was nothing it wouldn’t have gotten caught on camera and Don Mattingly wouldn’t have been nervously laughing and sipping water after the game:

That’s not good however you paint it, but it’s not enough to draw broad brushstrokes about the Dodgers’ team chemistry. It’s two emotionally charged teammates who didn’t see eye-to-eye in Game 150. Maybe it lingers, maybe it doesn’t. We’ll see.

Report: Florida man arrested in Yasiel Puig smuggling case.

miniPuigFrom the Associated Press:

A South Florida man has been arrested for his alleged role in a smuggling venture that brought Los Angeles Dodgers star Yasiel Puig out of Cuba, according to court records.

The records show Gilberto Suarez is scheduled to make an initial appearance Thursday in Miami federal court on a charge of alien smuggling. Suarez was arrested Wednesday and it wasn’t immediately clear if he had an attorney.

The indictment against Suarez remained sealed before the hearing, but a civil lawsuit filed in Miami against Puig contains details about him.

Those documents describe Suarez as one of the Miami-based men who financed Puig’s 2012 trip by boat from Cuba to Isla Mujeres, a fishing village near Cancun, Mexico. The initial price for the trip was $250,000, then was raised by the smugglers to $400,000.

You can read the rest of the story here.

Yasiel Puig late again, but it’s an excused tardy.

Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig was the last position player on the field Wednesday, arriving a few minutes after his teammates for the pregame routine.

That is nothing new; today’s tardy, however, was excused. Puig informed team officials in advance that he would be late because he had to take his mother to a hospital.

Puig is batting leadoff tonight against the San Diego Padres.

“It’s time to get him going,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. “The biggest thing is that we need him. Everything we’ve tried to so so far has been trying to get him going, trying to take pressure off him in different spots. When he’s going good were a better team.”

Don Mattingly expresses faith in struggling Hanley Ramirez.

Hanley Ramirez

Hanley Ramirez has seven hits in 12 games since coming off the disabled list. (Getty Images)


Hanley Ramirez drew two walks in four plate appearances Sunday against the Arizona Diamondbacks. He scored both times, thanks to a pair of three-run home runs by Adrian Gonzalez.

Ramirez has taken over the number-two slot in the batting order effectively vacated by Yasiel Puig.

“Over the last three months, Yas is probably hitting where he should be hitting right now,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said.

In the same breath, Mattingly professed his faith in Ramirez, who has seven hits in 43 at-bats since coming off the disabled list with a strained right oblique muscle.

“That spot there, who do you want the extra at-bat going to? Right now it’s not necessarily Yasiel,” Mattingly said. “Hopefully it ends up being Hanley swinging the bat better and better, because I do feel like we’re going to need him going down the stretch here. If we’re going to be lucky enough to get into the postseason and do something, we’re going to need Hanley to do what he does. Hanley’s proven over the years that he’s a batting title type guy. He’s an MVP-type guy. He hits good pitching. He can hit good pitching. That’s what we’re hoping to get back to.”

Yasiel Puig’s struggles at the plate go beyond patience. Some charts on the Dodgers outfielder.

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly corrected a claim he made about Yasiel Puig‘s health.

Mattingly told reporters Saturday that Puig wouldn’t play after receiving IV treatment for a stomach ailment. Sunday, the manager said that Puig never received an IV.

Maybe the illness was overblown, or an excuse to get a struggling hitter out of the lineup.

Whatever the reason, Puig is struggling. That’s a fact.

Since August 1, Puig is slashing .211/.309/.239. Sunday, he was dropped to seventh in the batting order for the first time in his career.

“I’m sure he’s working on rhythm and getting some movement, because we feel like he got stagnant at the plate,” Mattingly said. “I think you have to come up with the mentality that you swing at strikes. Patience, for me, doesn’t mean you’re trying to walk. It just means your’e getting yourself a good pitch to hit. That’s to me, what that is: Not in a hurry to get the at-bat over.”

As is sometimes the case, the problem isn’t as simple as Mattingly makes it sound.

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Dodgers demote slumping Yasiel Puig to seventh in the batting order.

Yasiel Puig

Yasiel Puig hasn’t hit a home run since July 31 and is batting .211 since. (Hans Gutknecht/Staff photographer)


One day after Yasiel Puig was given a day off to recover from a stomach ailment that required IV treatments, the All-Star outfielder found himself hitting seventh Sunday against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

It’s the second time this week that Puig has been dropped to the lowest spot in the batting order in his career. Monday against the Washington Nationals, Puig batted sixth for the first time.

Puig owns a .211/.301/.239 slash line since August 1. He hasn’t hit a home run during the 29 games since.

Puig is playing right field, while Andre Ethier is batting fifth and starting in center field for the first time since August 29. Ethier has a .259/.300/.333 slash line in 30 plate appearances against Diamondbacks starter Trevor Cahill.

Here are the full lineups for both teams:

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Yasiel Puig sits out against the D-backs with stomach ailment

Dodgers center fielder Yasiel Puig sat out Saturday’s game against the Arizona Diamondbacks because of a stomach ailment. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said Joc Pederson, rather than Andre Either, would replace Puig.

“More than anything Yasiel is not feeling good today,” Mattingly said, explaining Puig’s absence from the starting lineup. “He’s going to have an IV. There’s something going on with his stomach, so we’ll see how that goes.

“It’s opportunity for Joc to do his thing. We don’t want to force him into the lineup or anything else. But it’s an opportunity for him. I think he has a chance to help us. It’s a great experience for him, more than anything. Hopefully, he can help us win some games.”

Pederson went into Saturday’s game hitting .222 (2 for 9) in his first four games in the big leagues after a stellar season in the minor leagues.

 

Joc Pederson’s strong play could upset the apple cart.

Yasiel  Puig

Yasiel Puig went 0 for 3 with a walk and scored a run Monday night against Washington. (Getty Images)

Yas or Joc?

Puig or Pederson?

The debate existed only in theory two days ago, when Yasiel Puig was batting second and playing center field in San Diego, and Joc Pederson was still biding his time in Triple-A.

Now Pederson is here at Dodger Stadium, starting in center field while Yasiel Puig sits for the second time in his last five games.

Puig has two hits in his last 30 at-bats coming into Tuesday night’s game, with a right-hander (Doug Fister) on the mound for the Washington Nationals. Pederson — who struck out to end Monday’s game in his first major-league at-bat — is the reigning Pacific Coast League rookie of the year and MVP.

Mattingly downplayed the long-term debate by saying he would “pull (Puig) off and help him a bit, then give him a chance to get back in the water.” He said that Puig wouldn’t have to prove that he deserves the everyday center fielder’s job, but neither did he say when Puig’s next chance would come.

“I haven’t really thought about tomorrow,” Mattingly said. “Just putting it up today and see where we’re at.”

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