The Dodgers’ September call ups figure to include a hot-hitting outfielder from Triple-A Oklahoma City, only this one is not a prospect. Yasiel Puig is expected to return to the major leagues this weekend, reports Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times, and later confirmed by Buster Olney of ESPN.
Puig hit .348/.400/.594 with four home runs in 19 games for Oklahoma City, though his demotion to the minors had to do with far more than numbers.
Tracy Ringolsby of MLB.com reported on Wednesday that before any decision was made to promote Puig the front office would have a closed-door meeting with him, and that the club was pleased with his progress during his month in the minors:
"The conversations we had with him at the beginning of August really resonated with him,'' said Friedman. "I think there's been a very conscious effort to listen to what was said, and apply it to his daily work. The reports from [Oklahoma City manager Bill] Haselman have been really good.
"I was there a couple weeks ago, and it's obviously a short blip of time, but he's done everything we've asked in this process."
Puig was optioned to Triple-A on Aug. 2, one day after the Dodgers acquired outfielder Josh Reddick from the A’s.
Reddick started 21 of 28 games in right field during August, hitting just .161/.223/.172, going 14-for-87 with one extra-base hit, a double. Reddick has driven in one run since joining the Dodgers, and that RBI came in his last at-bat of August, a ninth-inning single just before Andrew Toles hit the game-winning grand slam.
In 81 games with the Dodgers this season, Puig hit .260/.320/.386 with seven home runs and 10 doubles. He did not play on Thursday night for Oklahoma City.
In an interview with Marly Rivera of ESPN last weekend, Puig lamented his time in the minors, and what got him there:
"I keep hitting. I'm behaving. I'm doing the work I have to do," Puig said. "What I did wrong before and I have been doing better the last two or three weeks that I've been here. [Being called up] does not depend on me. All I can do is try to improve what I did wrong, the things that got me sent me here. The rest does not depend on me, that's [a decision for] the GM, the president. Only God knows where I will end up."
Puig said that adapting to the rules of a major league clubhouse since his breakout season in 2013 contributed to his struggles both on and off the field.
"It is the same rules whether [you're] in Cuba or in the U.S.," Puig said. "If you don't train, if you don't respect your coaches, whether you are amateur or professional, you will have the same problems."
The Dodgers play their first game of September on Friday night against the Padres at Dodger Stadium.
If we’re playing the wild speculation game, Puig is 2-for-3 with a home run and a double against Friday’s Padres starter Clayton Richard, though their lone encounter came on June 4, 2013, Puig’s second major league game.