Yasiel Puig had one hit in his two at-bats on Monday in the Dodgers' 8-2 loss to the Royals in Surprise, which caused his batting average to decrease from .527 to .526. The outfielder also struck out, his 11th against no walks in 59 plate appearances this spring. But the strikeouts have become more and more rare.
Puig hadn't struck out since Mar. 12, when he punched out twice against Mat Latos of the Reds at Goodyear Ball Park. He want 23 consecutive plate appearances without a strikeout before the ninth inning Monday against twice former Dodgers draftee Luke Hochevar.
For the spring, Puig is hitting .526/.508/.842.
Puig's strikeout in the ninth inning came on a check swing, one that home plate umpire Anthony Johnson didn't feel the need to call for a check swing at first base. It was the same scenario as Matt Kemp, who struck out on a check swing to end the seventh inning. Manager Don Mattingly came out to argue.
"I really wasn't even mad. It wasn't so obvious that you don't even check," Mattingly said. "He told me I was arguing balls and strikes, and I said, 'What are you going to do, eject me from a (f***ing) spring training game?'"
Mattingly was ejected from the game, the first time he has even been tossed as a manager during a spring training game. I brought up to Mattingly that he was ejected last year on both Mothers Day and Fathers Day, and that tonight was Passover.
"You might be stretching it a little bit," Mattingly joked. "What's next, Secretary's Day?"
"Puig Day?" I asked.
- Mattingly didn't sound too worried at Zack Greinke's performance, saying that the outing was more to building up arm strength for the regular season. "If it were the regular season or a regular occurrence, maybe. But for his first time out there in a while, this is what we talked about," Mattingly said. "(The Royals) have a good young hitting lineup there."
- Kemp went 0-for-3 and is hitting .171/.265/.317 during the spring, but Mattingly wasn't worried about him either.
"I'm okay with Matt. He's got bat speed, you see that. I think he's frustrated now because he wants to get hits all the time. Honestly what I like is that he's starting to want his hits," Mattingly said. "He's feeling good enough now, and that intensity is there. That's what we expect. I'm okay with where he's at. I think mentally he's ready, and physically he has looked ready."
- Mattingly sounded encouraged at Chad Billingsley's bullpen session, during which he was able to throw curve balls. "Rick (Honeycutt, pitching coach) saw him throw his breaking ball, and he looked pretty good," Mattingly said. "It sounded encouraging that he was able to throw it well today."