Nick Punto thriving with increased work load

Harry How

Punto has played this month in a single month since starting 27 games for the Twins in 2010.

The Dodgers try to capture the middle game of their series against the Cardinals on Saturday afternoon, and their lineup is headed by leadoff man Nick Punto, who has been one of the steadiest performers for the Dodgers this season.

"He's playing so good and given us so much energy he's really been hard to take out of the lineup," said manager Don Mattingly. "When you're writing the lineup, it's hard to say don't play Punto tonight."

Punto is hitting .323/.411/.396 this season, and has a .405 on-base percentage since joining the Dodgers last Aug. 25. In May with injuries to second baseman Mark Ellis and utility man Jerry Hairston, Punto has played nearly every day. Saturday is Punto's 18th start in May, tying him with Andre Ethier for second-most on the team, two behind Matt Kemp.

In May, Punto is hitting .279/.366/.377.

Punto has started 12 games at second base, nine games at third base, and four games at shortstop this season. The 35-year-old has played much more than Mattingly anticipated.

"It's been a little bit of everything. Injuries have given him more opportunities than we thought we would get. With his success he's playing more than he might need to, and I am worried about wearing him down," Mattingly said. "As Mark comes back it takes the load off of second base a little bit. The plan is to mix him and Dee Gordon a little bit at short the way we're situated right now, and kind of the same at third."

Ideally, the team would like Punto to play two or three times per week rather than five or six, hoping to keep him fresh throughout the season. But as we have seen, 2013 has been anything but ideal for the Dodgers, and they'll take whatever they can get. So far, Punto has been up to the challenge of providing that.

Game info

Time: 4:15 p.m.

TV: Fox

MLB Gameday

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join True Blue LA

You must be a member of True Blue LA to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at True Blue LA. You should read them.

Join True Blue LA

You must be a member of True Blue LA to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at True Blue LA. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9351_tracker