Dodgers send Puig to minors to make room for newcomers
DENVER (AP) — Yasiel Puig’s up-and-down career took another turn when the Los Angeles Dodgers sent the outfielder to the minors a day after they couldn’t move him before the non-waiver trade deadline.
The Dodgers also optioned pitcher Ross Stripling to Triple-A Oklahoma City to make room for their new additions, outfielder Josh Reddick and reliever Jesse Chavez.
Los Angeles told Puig not to come to Dodger Stadium on Monday ahead of the team’s trip to Colorado for a series against the Rockies. Puig complied, and now he has 72 hours to report to the minors.
“The technical move is a designation for the purposes of securing optional waivers,” Dodgers general manager Farhan Zaidi said. “He has not been assigned yet, but our expectation is that he will be assigned to Oklahoma City on Thursday. He will have 72 hours to report, so we expect him to be there by this weekend.”
The Dodgers acquired Reddick and left-hander Rich Hill from Oakland on Monday, as well as Chavez from Toronto. Hill is on the 15-day disabled list with a blister on his pitching hand.
Reddick was in the lineup Tuesday against Colorado, batting fourth and playing right field.
“My main goal right now is to get to know these guys so I can fit in with a new team,” said Reddick, who hit .296 with eight homers for the Athletics. “But once the lights come on and that first pitch is thrown, then everybody is on the same page to win.”
Puig was an All-Star in 2014 after a meteoric rise with the Dodgers, who signed the Cuban prospect to a $42 million, seven-year contract in June 2012. He hit 35 homers and drove in 111 runs while batting .305 from 2013-14, but slipped to .255 last season while playing in just 79 games due to hamstring troubles.
Puig has been physically limited and largely inconsistent even when healthy this season, batting .260 with seven homers in 81 games. His on-base-plus-slugging percentage is down to a career-worst .706.
“With Yasiel being reassigned it gives him on opportunity to work on getting better,” manager Dave Roberts said. “It’s never to be mistaken how much we care for Yasiel and realize he has so much potential. But he needs to continue to work on a routine and being consistent with mechanics and overall growth as a person.
“We expect him to understand that this is not punitive; it’s for his growth to ultimately become a better baseball player.”
Zaidi said the Dodgers have told Puig through his representatives that they are doing what is best for the team.
“There are certainly things that we believe he can do better off the field and those have been communicated to him,” Zaidi said. “I believe he and his representation understand what we are hoping happens moving forward.”