Yasiel Puig to play in Rancho Cucamonga, likely for Freeway Series

Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE

Puig, who was optioned on Thursday, is expected to play this weekend in southern California.

The Dodgers on Tuesday optioned Cuban outfield sensation Yasiel Puig to Double-A Chattanooga, but that won't prevent fans in southern California from seeing the 22-year-old in person. Puig is scheduled to play for the Dodgers in their exhibition game on Thursday against the Class-A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, and will likely play in the Freeway Series on Friday and Saturday against the Angels as well.

Puig is hitting .526/.508/.846 for the spring, and led the team with 59 plate appearances, 26 games, 16 runs scored, 11 RBI, and two triples.

"When we came into camp, this guy wasn't even on the radar (for this season). He's had a great camp," manager Don Mattingly said on Tuesday. "Obviously he's put himself on the map as far as probably knocking on the door instead of being a couple of years away."

Puig played 14 games for the Quakes in 2012, and hit .327/.407/.423. He played seven games at The Epicenter in Rancho Cucamonga, home of the Quakes and where the Dodgers' split squad, managed by Tommy Lasorda, will take on the Quakes on Thursday.

Other Dodgers expected to play in Rancho Cucamonga include Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Jerry Hairston Jr., Alfredo Amezaga, Alex Castellanos, and Stephen Fife.

Chris Reed starts for the Quakes on the mound. Others suiting up for Rancho Cucamonga in the exhibition include Pedro Baez, Corey Seager, James Baldwin, Zachary Bird, Jeremy Rathjen, and Ross Stripling.

"We want this guy totally ready as possible when he walks in the door at Dodger Stadium, and not to ever have to go back down again," Mattingly said of Puig on Tuesday.

Okay, maybe the next time after Friday's game at Dodger Stadium.

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