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Yasiel Puig misses workout after wisdom teeth removed

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Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

PHOENIX -- Yasiel Puig didn't participate in the first full squad workout for the Dodgers on Thursday afternoon at Camelback Ranch, but he will unsurprisingly figure prominently into the team's outfield plans for 2016.

Puig got his wisdom teeth removed on Tuesday, and was held out of workouts on Thursday, though he participated in the morning meetings. He is expected to be ready for Friday's workout.

Manager Dave Roberts on Thursday addressed the crowded Dodgers outfield, though since this was just the first day of full squad workouts he was understandably unwilling to lock himself in to a concrete depth chart. That said, Puig will play, which isn't a surprise.

"I do anticipate Yasiel being out there a lot, when he's healthy," Roberts said. "When he's healthy and he's right, what he brings to a team is pretty special."

Puig hit .255/.322/.436 with 11 home runs in just 79 games, sidelined by numerous injuries in 2015, including more than a month each for both hamstrings.

His reputation also precedes him, that of a player tough to manage, not always on time, but so far Roberts has seen none of that, part of his "clean slate" with Puig.

"He's been open. He's been fun-loving, communicating with his teammates and the coaches," Roberts said. "The will to want to get better is there, so that's all I know."

Though he wouldn't commit to a depth chart or whether there would be platoons in center field and left field, Roberts also went out of his way to praise Joc Pederson on defense. It's not the first time this week that has happened, and it makes sense Pederson wouls have the inside track in center field, at the very least against right-handed pitching.

"Joc's a very good defender," Roberts said. "When you're playing a premium position out there in center field, I value defense and I know the organization does."

Of the issue of too many outfielders, Roberts expressed a similar refrain to that of his predecessor, that it was a good problem to have in many ways.

"Initially it's more of a high-class problem. We've got depth and very good, capable major league players. But with each player, with the conversations we've had over the winter, there's a buy-in," Roberts explained. "There's an understanding that there are only three spots available, and there are five, six, seven who are more than capable. There has to be sacrifices."

Carl Crawford was also hurt last season, limited to just 69 games of his own. He found himself on the outside looking in by the end of the season, with Andre Ethier seizing hold of the other outfield spot and never letting go (well except against left-handed pitching). But even if Crawford does find himself not starting, don't look for him to try to add center field to his repertoire, a position he hasn't played since 2008.

"I think Carl will stay in left," Roberts said. "He's very comfortable in left field, so that makes the most sense."

Trayce Thompson, acquired by the Dodgers in December, in many ways is the quintessential fourth outfielder, with his ability to defend in all three outfield spots. But at the moment he is no better than sixth on the outfield depth chart, with Triple-A Oklahoma City seemingly in his immediate future.

"I'm enjoying getting to know Trayce, his makeup and his work ethic," Roberts said. "When you look at Trayce in a uniform, it looks right. He's got a great head on him. The way he goes about his business, it's like he's been around for a long time. Our message to Trayce is just to go out there and get better every day."