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Yasiel Puig an All-Star? Not yet, says Don Mattingly

Yasiel Puig's numbers — .474 with 11 RBIs in his first 15 games — are phenomenal. But Mattingly and some of Puig's teammates say he hasn't played enough yet.

June 21, 2013|By Bill Shaikin

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SAN DIEGO — Yasiel Puig might have captured the imagination of baseball fans from coast to coast, but the blossoming movement to get the Dodgers phenom into the All-Star game has not won unconditional support within the Dodgers' clubhouse.

"You should have to earn it," Manager Don Mattingly said.

In his first 15 games in the major leagues, Puig hit .474 with five home runs and 11 runs batted in. Is he an All-Star?

"Right now, no," Mattingly said. "Are his numbers better than anybody else's? If he gets to the point where he's putting up huge numbers, he should be considered. Right now, you're asking if he should be above guys with 40 RBIs.

Adrian Gonzalez, a four-time All-Star and the Dodgers position player most likely to make the All-Star team, echoed the concern that Puig had not played long enough to build up sufficient statistical totals.

"What he's done is unheard of," Gonzalez said. "Nobody else has really done it. But if you look up at the scoreboard at the All-Star game and he's got 15 or 20 RBIs, it's going to look a bit off.

Matt Kemp wondered when Mike Trout and Bryce Harper were called up last year. Trout and Harper each made his debut April 28, and each made the All-Star game last year. Puig made his debut June 3.

"It's only been two weeks," Kemp said. "What he's done has been amazing so far. I don't know how to feel about that.

"I think he has a better chance to win rookie of the year than to be an All-Star."

The All-Star game is July 16. The rosters will be announced July 6. Mattingly chuckled at the notion Puig could not possibly get his statistical totals high enough by then.

"It only took him five games to drive in 10," Mattingly said. "He could have about 60 ribbies by then."

Back in black and blue

The Dodgers returned to Petco Park on Thursday, for the first time since the April brawl in which Carlos Quentin threw Zack Greinke to the ground and broke his left collarbone.

"We've been in turmoil ever since, it seems like," Mattingly said.

Quentin missed his sixth consecutive start Thursday because of a sore left shoulder.

The Dodgers won on fight night in San Diego, improving their record to 6-3. They entered play Thursday with a 24-37 record — a .393 winning percentage since then.

To Mattingly, those numbers reflected correlation, not causation.

"I'd love to say" Chad Billingsley's elbow injury and Chris Capuano's triceps injury "and everything was all because of the fight," Mattingly said, "but I don't think so."

Mattingly said the notion of "bad blood" between the Dodgers and Padres was "overblown a little bit." He did not believe either team had it in for the other.

Is there a team that does inspire such hatred? Mattingly, the old Yankee, was more than happy to oblige with an answer.

"The Red Sox? Nobody likes the Red Sox," Mattingly said, grinning.

Short hops

The Dodgers are hopeful Kemp can return to their lineup next weekend. They want him to play three or four games on a minor league rehabilitation assignment before then. … Fellow outfielder Carl Crawford could be weeks away from returning. … The Dodgers recalled utility man Elian Herrera from triple-A Albuquerque and optioned pitcher Chris Withrow there. They also sent outfielder Scott Van Slyke there on a rehabilitation assignment.

Twitter: @BillShaikin

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