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Three Dodgers look forward to trip to Miami

Outfielder Yasiel Puig and reliever Paco Rodriguez have family in the area, and pitcher Ricky Nolasco played with the Marlins for several seasons.

August 18, 2013|By Kevin Baxter

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PHILADELPHIA -- Shortly after Sunday's loss in Philadelphia, the Dodgers left for Florida, where they begin a four-game series with the Miami Marlins on Monday. It's a trip that marks a homecoming of sorts for outfielder Yasiel Puig and pitchers Ricky Nolasco and Paco Rodriguez, who will all be playing their first games in Miami in a Dodger uniform.

After defecting from Cuba in 2012, Puig bought a house in Miami, where his parents Omar and Maritza live, and Nolasco, a Southern California native, spent parts of eight seasons with the Marlins.

But it's Rodriguez, who was born in South Florida and attended high school there, who has the deepest ties.

"There's nothing more exciting than to go home and be able to share your dream with your whole family," said Rodriguez, who is expecting about three dozen friends and friendly members at each of the four games. "That's the biggest thing. It's going to be a great time.

"And an honor for my family just to be able to represent them. I thank them for what I am today because without them, I wouldn't be [here]."

Nolasco said he doesn't much expect of a welcome from his old team despite the fact he holds 10 franchise records.

"They probably won't even mention it, " he said. "They've never mentioned it before so why would they now?"

Speaking of home

Adrian Gonzalez has been keeping close tabs on the Tijuana Municipal team during its run through the Little League World Series, a run that continued Sunday with a win over Panama, sending the Mexicans to Wednesday's international championship game.

Gonzalez, who played in the same league when he was a boy, arranged for the team to visit the Dodgers during batting practice before Friday's game. But even though Tijuana did not have a game that day, Gonzalez was told Little League officials would not approve the 180-mile trip from Williamsport, Pa., to Philadelphia while the team was still in the tournament.

Relief on the way?

Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly remained coy when discussing reliever Brian Wilson, who was not activated Sunday as expected.

"It's still a fluid situation. We feel good about what's going on," he said.

Wilson, the former San Francisco Giants closer, pitched to five batters in a simulated game Friday then spent the rest of the three-game series in the Dodgers bullpen. A three-time All-Star, Wilson hasn't pitched in the major leagues since undergoing his second Tommy John surgery 16 months ago.

Time out for Puig?

Puig may get an unwanted day off soon. For the second consecutive game, Puig was thrown out on the bases Sunday and he also overthrew a cutoff man, which nearly cost the Dodgers a run.

Mattingly has lectured the rookie on his aggressive, and sometimes reckless, play and conceded that he may have to bench Puig to get his attention.

"Maybe he needs a day to rest and see the game," Mattingly said of Puig, who went hitless Sunday, dropping his average to .358. "He's the one guy that never gets a day off."

Twitter: @kbaxter11

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