Yasiel Puig continued to amaze on Saturday night. He had two more hits in the Dodgers' 2-1 loss to the Braves and also made a throw from right field that looked like it was shot out of a cannon. But it was a play in the eighth inning that had everyone on the edge of their seats and worried.
Puig bounced a ball over the head of pitcher Luis Avilan to open the eighth inning and looked like he would easily beat the throw to first base. But Puig slid headfirst into the bag, and rather awkwardly and violently at that, leaving the sellout crowd of 52,716 - and all of the third base dugout - holding their breath.
Puig stayed in the game and appeared okay despite appearing to jam either his hand or shoulder, depending on the angle of the play. But after the game Puig said he felt no ill effects from his collision with first base.
"I looked a little rough in there. It didn't like an injury, but it looked like it got him pretty good," said manager Don Mattingly. "We'll see tomorrow."
The good news is Puig didn't have any part of him wrapped in extra bandages after the game, and said he expected to play again on Sunday.
"I'm ready for tomorrow," Puig said. "It's not my decision whether I play or not."
The slide itself was dangerous, but also an outgrowth of the style of Puig's energetic play. It's something Puig has in common with Nick Punto, a notorious headfirst slider who is roughly half the size of Puig, give or take a few pounds.
"That may be something. He's been around Punto too long," Mattingly said. "That was a little dangerous. But you know what, with guys like him who play with that much energy, the game just comes out of them. It's kind of natural."
Skip Schumaker, who had three hits on Saturday and extended his career best hitting streak to 14 games, agreed.
"Unfortunately I do it too. It's a dumb play. Punto knows it's dumb, I know it's dumb. But when you're in the moment, unless you've done it before you don't know," Schumaker said. "You try your hardest, and you can't fault a guy for giving his best effort. You're going to get hurt. You try not to do some stuff like that, but you can't fault the guy for giving 100%. I love it.
"I love it, but I don't want him to get hurt."
The Dodgers look to win the series on Sunday as they will recall Matt Magill from Triple-A Albuquerque to make his sixth start of the season. Lefty Mike Minor starts for the Braves.