Yasiel Puig continued to put on a show for the Dodgers on Friday night, leading the Dodgers to an 8-1 win over the Royals at Camelback Ranch. Puig homered and had three hits and his three at-bats, and continues to amaze his manager.
"I don't think I've seen anybody do something like this. I've seen guys have good springs, but not with that kind of energy," said Don Mattingly. "You don't see this kind of package. This is a Bo Jackson-type package that you just don't see."
Puig crushed a pitch from Yordano Ventura in the first inning well into the right field seats, a ball everyone in the stadium knew was gone from the moment if left Puig's bat.
"(It was) a fastball that was too high, especially for him. A very big boy," Ventura said after the game.
In the third inning, Puig singled with two outs then stole his first base of the spring. He scored on Uribe's dunker into right field that found its way past Jeff Francoeur for a double.
Puig singled again in the fifth inning and advanced to second base on yet another hit by Juan Uribe (Puig was 3-for-3 on the night, Uribe 4-for-4). Puig went to third on a fly ball single to left field by Alfredo Amezaga, then alertly went home when the ball was misplayed in the outfield.
"That guy is a brick house. Off the bat oppo job? All three of the balls were well struck," said starting pitcher Stephen Fife, who had an RBI double himself on Saturday. "The bat speed and the strength he carries is pretty impressive."
Puig is now hitting a robust .459 (17-for-37) for the spring, and said even he is surprised at how well he has done to date. And it will continue on Saturday, as Puig is on the travel roster headed to Surprise to play the Rangers.
"That was amazing tonight," said Mattingly. "I had to get him out of there so I didn't wear him out for tomorrow's game."
Puig is the only Dodger to play every day the Dodgers have had a game.
Uribe, who had four hits of his own while batting cleanup behind the No. 3 hitter Puig, was asked who had the better night?
"Me!" said Uribe, laughing. "I told (Puig), that's a lot of fastballs for him today."
Though it is still highly likely that Puig starts the year in the minor leagues, he is sure making things interesting in the Cactus League. And it makes it fun to keep finding creative ways to ask whether or not Puig will make the Dodgers out of camp. On Friday, I asked if on opening day would Puig get his own special separate introduction, and Mattingly smiled.
"We'll bring him in by helicopter," he said.
The Dodgers make their first trip to Surprise on Saturday afternoon as they battle the Rangers. Clayton Kershaw gets the start for the Dodgers, against Matt Harrison for Texas in a battle of southpaws.