The Dodgers and Padres open a three-game series on Monday at Dodger Stadium, the first time Carlos Quentin has faced the Dodgers since he broke Zack Greinke's collarbone on Apr. 11. But there will be no Quentin in the lineup on Monday, as the Padres outfielder banged his head on the wall at Petco Park over the weekend.
That just means more time to concentrate on Yasiel Puig and his major league debut.
With leadoff man Carl Crawford on the disabled list, Puig will bat first in his major league debut, the first Dodger to do so since Jose Offerman on Aug. 19, 1990. Offerman homered in his first major league at-bat. Manager Don Mattingly is hoping for a spark at the top of the order.
"It just kind of felt right, get a guy up top with a chance to create some energy. He could steal a bag, he could hit a home run. He can pretty much do anything," Mattingly said. "He seems like the right guy for now. When we get Carl back, we'll see how we go from there."
Puig met with the media in the interview room before stretching, a rarity for a player making his major league debut. He mostly said all the right things, as interpreted by Tim Bravo.
"I'm not surprised (at batting leadoff), but I'm just going to bat in the position they tell me to play," Puig said. "I'm happy to be here, and thank the club for the opportunity. I'm going to do whatever I can to help the team."
Prior to the game Puig took in extra outfield practice in right field with coach Davey Lopes. Puig starts in right field on Monday for the Dodgers, a position he played in 31 games for Double-A Chattanooga. But center field could be on the horizon as well, especially with Matt Kemp out.
"Right field was easy because that's pretty much where he's played the whole time. He's played a couple of times in center. We'd like him to be more comfortable, to be somewhere he's played the most. We'll try to get a little bit of work as we can in center," Mattingly said. "From what we've seen so far, right field is his spot."
Mattingly said the decision to recall Puig was made a few days ago, but the Dodgers had to maneuver to call up spot starters for both Sunday and Monday. All the talk of adding a "true center fielder" was a ruse.
"I pretty much knew and I didn't want to talk about it," Mattingly quipped. "I was just bullshitting with you."
- As for Quentin, he could still pinch hit. Mattingly said he did not receive a phone call prior to this series from Joe Torre in the league office, as both teams did before their April 15-17 series at Dodger Stadium.
- Zach Lee allowed two hits over seven scoreless innings with eight strikeouts in two appearances last week for Double-A Chattanooga, and on Monday was named Southern League Pitcher of the Week.
- Pau Gasol is throwing out a ceremonial first pitch on Monday.
Time: 7:10 p.m.
TV: Prime Ticket