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Not taking chances, Dodgers keep Yasiel Puig out of lineup

Puig, nursing a sore left hip, is held out of the starting lineup for only the second time since being called up June 3.

July 13, 2013|By Dylan Hernandez
  • Dodgers star Yasiel Puig didn't play Saturday against Colorado, but he did take the time to pose for photos with fans before the game at Dodger Stadium.
Dodgers star Yasiel Puig didn't play Saturday against Colorado,… (Stephen Dunn / Getty Images )

Yasiel Puig was held out of the Dodgers lineup Saturday, as Manager Don Mattingly said he didn't want to take any chances with his sore left hip. Carl Crawford was also out of the lineup for the third consecutive day to rest a stiff lower back.

Mattingly didn't know whether Puig would be available for the series finale against the Colorado Rockies on Sunday.

"We'll see how he is tomorrow," Mattingly said.

The game Saturday was only the second in which Puig didn't start since being called up from double-A Chattanooga on June 3.

Puig, who initially hurt his hip when he crashed into the outfield wall in Colorado on July 3, made early exits in the previous two days. He played only four innings Friday night, prompting Mattingly to speak to him about being more open with the medical staff about his condition.

"If you can't go, you have to tell the medical people you can't go," Mattingly said. "He can't say 'I'm OK,' then go two innings, then come out. That's what puts us in a bind."

Mattingly explained how with Crawford unavailable in any capacity Friday night, the Dodgers had only four players on their bench. When Scott Van Slyke replaced Puig, they were down to three, including backup catcher Tim Federowicz, whom Mattingly was saving for an emergency.

"All of a sudden, I have no players to use," Mattingly said. "That's what he has to realize. I'm better off with him pinch-hitting late, maybe being able to use him for an inning, then to have him two innings, then out of the game."

Crawford recovering

Crawford, who was also sidelined, said he felt better Saturday than he did the two previous days. Like Puig, he could return to the lineup Sunday.

"The last two days were really painful," Crawford said. "But I took some medication that knocked out a lot of the pain. I feel a lot better today."

Crawford underwent an MRI exam Saturday.

"Sounded like nothing really significant," Mattingly said.

With Crawford and Puig out of the lineup, the Dodgers' starting outfield consisted of Ethier in center field, Jerry Hairston Jr. in left and Skip Schumaker in right.

Mattingly's theory was that Crawford was injured because he overextended himself in his pregame workouts. Crawford acknowledged that could be the case.

"It's always been the way I've done things," Crawford said. "People say, 'You have to scale back.' It's hard to do that, but it's something I realize I'm going to have to do at times."

Crawford was one for 24 in his first six games since returning from the disabled list on July 5.

"That's probably why I tried to ramp up and do as much as I did, to try to get back to how I was hitting the ball," Crawford.

Crawford was upbeat when talking about his surgically repaired left elbow, which hindered his throwing early in the season.

"I'm not thinking about it and that's important for me," Crawford said. "It took a while. Now I'm to a point where I feel normal again."

Ellis bruised

Mark Ellis was replaced by pinch-runner Nick Punto after drawing an eighth-inning walk. Earlier in the at-bat, Ellis fouled a ball off his left leg. He had an X-ray, which came back negative. "Just sore," Ellis said.

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