The plan didn't call for Yasiel Puig to make his major-league debut today for the Dodgers. Plans change, and when they do it's nice to have a five-tool outfielder who's been crushing the ball at Double-A ready on a moment's notice. Puig was flying out Sunday from Chattanooga to make his major-league debut when the Dodgers host the San Diego Padres tonight at Dodger Stadium. Fans had been clamoring for Puig - whose .517 spring training batting average was the highest of any major-leaguer with at least 50 at-bats - as the Dodgers plummeted to last place in the National League West. The 22-year-old outfielder also led the Dodgers in slugging percentage, tagging him as a can't-miss prospect, before he was assigned to Double-A Chattanooga late in spring training. The Dodgers were not clamoring. When center fielder Matt Kemp was placed on the disabled list Thursday with a strained right hamstring, manager Don Mattingly said he wanted a "true center fielder" to replace Kemp. Puig spent the majority of his time in right field before playing center field Friday and Saturday in Chattanooga. When left fielder Carl Crawford suffered a hamstring injury Saturday in the Dodgers' loss to the Colorado Rockies, the need for a healthy outfielder doubled. Maybe Puig looked like a natural in center or maybe the Dodgers plan to play him in left - Mattingly wouldn't say after Sunday's game in Denver. Either way, the plan changed. "He's got power.He's got speed. He's got an arm," Mattingly told reporters after the Dodgers' 7-2 loss to Colorado about Puig. "It's a tooled-up package, but then on the back side of that, you still say it's a young player. You don't want to build him up to the point where it's impossible to live up to expectations.
Dodgers top prospect Yasiel Puig to debut with L.A. on Monday against San Diego
L.A. Daily News | Jun 3