MESA, Ariz. -- Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig continues to shine on defense, with a trio of solid plays on Wednesday against the Cubs. The highlight was this catch against the wall in the fourth inning to rob Anthony Rizzo of extra bases.
But that wasn't the only solid play from Puig in his first game in center field this spring. He played four innings in center field on Wednesday.
Puig in the second inning cut off a ball hit by old friend Mike Baxter into the gap in right center. The play went for a two-run single, but had Puig not quickly retrieved the ball and threw it back toward the infield the hit would have cleared the bases. As it was, Puig's play kept runners at the corners, and no further damage was done in the inning.
He made a similar play on Monday against the Giants, cutting a ball off in the gap to prevent extra bases.
"It's one of those plays that maybe you notice it, maybe you don't," Mattingly said two days ago. "It won't be on SportsCenter but that's a great play."
In the third inning with the bases loaded and nobody out against Julio Urias, Puig caught a fly ball in center field off the bat of Chris Coghlan. But rather than try to get the runner at home, something he might have tried eight out of 10 times in years past, Puig threw to third base, even hitting the cutoff man, ensuring no other runners advanced.
Nobody else scored in the inning.
It has only been a few games, but so far Puig has been outstanding in the outfield. He still has the same boundless energy we usually see, but he has also been extremely focused and alert, making smart plays all over the place, even ones that might not necessarily make the highlight reel.