Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig works on his batting technique during a… (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles…)
Yasiel Puig remains a long shot to break camp with the Dodgers; however, after the Cuban outfielder had two more hits in Monday's 3-2 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers, Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly pointedly refused to say Puig would start the season in the minor leagues.
"It's not something you're willing to make a decision on at this point, or talk about," Mattingly said. "He's looked really good. There really hasn't been a negative about him."
The Dodgers want Puig, in his first pro season, to play every day. They might have an opening in left field, however briefly, with Carl Crawford expected to start the season on the disabled list.
Mattingly said he has been surprised by how well Puig has played and said he has not found much that Puig cannot do.
"There's times it looks like he can't hit a cutoff man," Mattingly said. "I think he's smart. I think he makes adjustments. He's been good. He needs to play. He's rough. He's a wild horse. It's fun to watch."
Puig lifted his Cactus League average to .452. When the Dodgers lifted him after two at-bats — both of them singles — Mattingly said Puig wanted to know why.
"Trying to protect his average," Mattingly said, jokingly.
The batting average of Hyun-jin Ryu remains at .000 after the South Korean pitcher took his first at-bat in eight years. The Korean Baseball Organization uses the designated hitter, so Ryu said he had not batted since high school.
He struck out on three pitches, all called strikes. He said through an interpreter that the Dodgers had not told him to refrain from swinging.
"He thought the pitches were low," the interpreter said.
Ryu, the first pitcher to jump from the KBO directly to Major League Baseball, gave up three runs in 4 2/3 innings. His Cactus League earned-run average is 5.91, but he shook his head from side to side at the question of whether he had any doubts he can succeed here.
"No," he said.
North Korea has declared invalid the armistice agreement that ended the Korean War. However, Ryu said he is not concerned that North Korea might invade his homeland.
"It'll never happen," he said through his interpreter. "North Korea will not be aggressive enough to start a war."
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