Apologetic Yasiel Puig likely back in lineup Saturday

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODA

Puig's benching was downplayed by manager Don Mattingly.

LOS ANGELES -- It doesn't sound like the discipline for Yasiel Puig showing up late to Friday's home opener will last more than a day. In fact, manager Don Mattingly said Puig was available today against the Giants, though the outfielder didn't play.

"I would have used him today. I'm trying to keep him for the right spot," Mattingly explained. "If there was a situation with enough runners on, in the right situation I would have used Yasiel today. That wasn't even a question. The situation just didn't pop up for me."

Mattingly did use three members of his five-man bench on Friday to pinch hit for his pitchers, all but Puig and backup catcher Drew Butera. Here were the three situations:

  • Scott Van Slyke was used in the fourth inning with Juan Uribe on third base and two outs, down 8-2. Van Slyke struck out swinging.
  • Justin Turner was used in the sixth inning with Dee Gordon on first base and nobody out, down 8-4. Turner struck out swinging.
  • Chone Figgins was used to leadoff the ninth inning, down 8-4. Figgins grounded out to shortstop.

Of those three situations, only the Turner at-bat was even an above-average leverage moment and even then the team's chances of winning, per the handy-dandy FanGraphs game log - was 9.7% before the at-bat. The only other above-average leverage in the fifth inning, but it would have involved Puig pinch-hitting for Adrian Gonzalez, Andre Ethier, Juan Uribe or A.J. Ellis, the latter two down four with two runners on base.

As for Puig, he was sitting at his apartment earlier Friday morning, thinking the report time was later, more like a Sunday day game than, you know, the home opener that nobody else showed up late for.

"It was my fault. I made a mistake," Puig said after the game, hours after he apologized to the team.

"He truly felt bad. You can tell in his body language, he doesn't things very well. I thought he had the right disposition when he came in," Mattingly said. "He was humbled by everything that happened today and I thought he handled it well. It's a mistake that he makes, and we move on. I really don't feel like it's a huge deal."

Mattingly wouldn't reveal his Saturday lineup, but with the left-handed Madison Bumgarner starting for the Giants, Puig is expected to start. Puig didn't want to speculate, either.

"It's not my decision, it's the manager's," Puig said. "I'll be here early tomorrow."

Up next

Paul Maholm gets the start for the Dodgers on Saturday afternoon, facing off against Bumgarner, in a game televised locally by both SportsNet LA and Fox Sports 1.

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