If Carl Crawford isn't ready to play in left field when the Dodgers start their season, top prospect Yasiel Puig won't be taking his place.

Asked whether Puig was under consideration for the Dodgers' opening-day roster, Manager Don Mattingly replied, "Not really, in my mind. If we're going to be realistic about it, it's probably not best for him."

Even though the 22-year-old Cuban defector is batting .412 this spring, Mattingly thinks he would benefit from playing in the minor leagues. The Dodgers are expected to assign Puig to double-A Chattanooga (Tenn.) or triple-A Albuquerque.

Matt Kemp, who made his major league debut at 21, doesn't think Puig will be there for long. "He's going to be in the big leagues this year at some point, I'm pretty positive," Kemp said.

Relayed Kemp's words, Puig smiled and said, "Hopefully."

Multiple Dodgers executives have said Puig is the best athlete the organization has had in its farm system since Kemp.

"I think he's way stronger than me," Kemp said. "He might have more power than me."

The heavily muscled Puig has also been clocked running from the batter's box to first base in as little as 3.9 seconds.