Dodgers co-owner Magic Johnson is "very excited" to watch outfield… (Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles…)
Dodgers co-owner Magic Johnson said on Friday that he was “very excited” to watch outfield prospect Yasiel Puig.
Johnson was visiting the Dodgers’ spring-training complex for the first time this spring. Puig was scheduled to bat sixth and play right field in a game against the Cincinnati Reds later in the day.
But Johnson said he wouldn’t push for the 22-year-old Cuban to be included in the Dodgers’ opening-day roster. That decision, he said, would be left up to Manager Don Mattingly, President Stan Kasten and General Manager Ned Colletti.
“I don’t get into decisions that Don and Stan have to make,” Johnson said. “They know this game. We trust them and Ned. That’s totally their decision and we back them 150%. I think that when it comes to baseball decisions like this, they know the game quite well. If it’s going to be better off for the young man and the organization, that’s what we’re going to do.”
Asked if he envisioned himself ever offering personnel advice in baseball, Johnson said, “I don’t know if I really want that to be my role. I’m going to get to know the game.… But I think that I want to do what I did today, talk to the players. I want to be the face of the organization, in terms of out in the community. Not the face of the team, but the organization. We have Matt and Clayton and Adrian. They’re the face of the Dodger team.”
Puig is batting .521 in the Cactus League.
“We’re happy that we have a talented young man,” Johnson said. “He doesn’t have to rush. We have a lot of talent on this team.”
Puig signed a seven-year, $42-million contract with the Dodgers last June.
“They wanted build the talent back up, especially in our farm system. We’ve been able to do that and you’re seeing the results of what Stan and Ned have talked about. That’s why we bid for this young man.”
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