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Don Mattingly on Yasiel Puig: “We’ve got to do a better job…of helping him mature”

Oct 19, 2013, 10:38 AM EDT

Yasiel Puig Getty Getty Images

While a disaster outing from ace Clayton Kershaw and a lack of offense against Michael Wacha were the main reasons for the Dodgers’ season coming to an end last night, Yasiel Puig naturally received plenty of attention after the game for his three defensive miscues in right field.

According to Chris Haft of MLB.com, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly acknowledged in his postgame comments that the club still has some work to do with the 22-year-old outfielder.

“Sitting there watching it tonight, and it’s what we’ve kind of watched all year long, it’s like you don’t have time to work on it, really,” Mattingly said. “You kind of go over it and you try to teach. You just continue to try to teach. Not just him, but all of us, really, you know? Yasiel gets excited. He’s going to try to make plays all the time, and that’s the way he is. But we’ve got to do a better job, I think, of helping him to mature and understand what we want done and the way to do it.”

Mattingly’s concerns are valid. Sure, Puig’s aggressive style is a lot of fun to watch and it often leads to brilliance, but we saw last night that it can also result in extra bases for the opposition. This isn’t lost on Puig, who said through his interpreter after the game that the biggest thing he noticed during his rookie season is the importance of “every run, every at-bat, every play in the field.” Cliched, yes, but a comment like that at least shows that he is aware of the repercussions of his mistakes. Nobody is asking Puig to shed his exuberance — it’s what makes him so much fun — but getting him to adhere to basic fundamentals rather than trying to do too much shouldn’t be considered reining him in, either. It’s easy to forget that has has only been in the country for a little over one year, so there’s still plenty of room for growth on that end.

  1. mungman69 - Oct 19, 2013 at 10:50 AM

    Boy, he was bad.

    • alexo0 - Oct 19, 2013 at 12:23 PM

      Seriously, quit bitching and just trade him. He’s obviously more trouble than he’s worth.

      • mkprz - Oct 19, 2013 at 3:31 PM

        I hate to say it, but his day is already past.
        He served his purpose. He is like a pinch-hitter.
        He got them that far and now for the regular player
        They figured him out.
        What series AJ Ellis had.
        Way to step up for a catcher.

  2. SOSHITECH.COM - Oct 19, 2013 at 11:12 AM

    Reblogged this on SoshiTech.

  3. stlunatik - Oct 19, 2013 at 11:18 AM

    I wouldn’t say fun to watch. More like an obnoxious d bag. He fits in good in LA

    • eightyraw - Oct 19, 2013 at 12:29 PM

      He is absolutely one of the most exciting players in baseball.

      • mkprz - Oct 19, 2013 at 3:32 PM

        Exciting is enoguh if they gave out championship rings for ‘exciting.”

  4. papichulo55 - Oct 19, 2013 at 11:25 AM

    Not sure that it’s a maturity problem. He probably learned to play the game where the emphasis was on individual performance. I spent some time around ballfields in the DR, and kids would be totally confused on the need to hit the cutoff man. Why give somebody else the opportunity to throw somebody out and get noticed? Why take pitches? You got three chances to look good, use them. I think Puig is mature enough. He just needs more instruction on playing team ball.

  5. hotkarlsandwich - Oct 19, 2013 at 11:26 AM

    http://shop.mlb.com/product/index.jsp?productId=19568476

  6. Sign Ahead - Oct 19, 2013 at 11:26 AM

    Mattingly has an odd way of talking about his players. He’s refreshingly honest, but his comments can be very personal: “Puig is immature” vs “Puig needs to make better decisions” or “Kershaw wasn’t good” vs “Kershaw had a bad outing.”

    Mistakes aren’t just mistakes, they’re indications of a faulty character. I wonder if he talks about himself the same way.

    • sportsfan18 - Oct 19, 2013 at 2:37 PM

      We coddle too much now… These are NOT children but PROFESSIONALS…

      The truth should be a defense when talking about professionals. Don’t give me that they are only 22 yrs old like Puig is.

      18 and 19 yrs old are ripped way worse by their officers and they don’t receive anywhere near the pay.

      You’re right that Puig needs to make better decisions and he needs to make better decisions because he’s immature.

      When problem solving things one must go to the root of the problem. One must analyze why someone needs to make better decisions. What’s the cause of their making bad decisions?

      Sorry, a professional needs to be held accountable and needs to be told the truth.

      • sportsfan18 - Oct 19, 2013 at 2:38 PM

        Forgot to say 18 and 19 yr olds in our military are ripped by their officers.

        God bless all our men and women…

      • Sign Ahead - Oct 19, 2013 at 3:53 PM

        I think you’re confusing “talking to” someone and “talking about” them.

        If Mattingly was talking to Yasiel Puig about his performance, then yes, he should be as harsh as he needs to be. Puig performed poorly and that needs to change. Mattingly doesn’t need to turn into Gunnery Sergeant Hartman, but he has a responsibility to be honest and instructive with his players.

        But Mattingly wasn’t talking to Puig, he was talking to the press. And he hung his player out to dry. Sure, Puig may learn something from that. But the lesson is likely to be “I can’t trust Don Mattingly” as it is “I should make better decisions.”

        I doubt a good drill instructor that would do the same thing to their recruits.

    • beachnbaseball - Oct 19, 2013 at 3:01 PM

      I much prefer an honest assessment from the manager than a sugar coated answer. This isn’t T-Ball. The teams aren’t going out to Chucky Cheeses’ after the game and hand out trophies to each other. Puig is immature and for one night, Kershaw sucked.

      • mkprz - Oct 19, 2013 at 3:26 PM

        Kershaw had a real bad night, but look at how many grounders went right by Ramirez.
        He watched them go by without so much as a dive.
        He could not perform his job and should have been out.
        Two people needed to sit out.
        Ramirez and Ethier.
        Hopefully they will learn.

  7. strk3 - Oct 19, 2013 at 11:45 AM

    So you’re saying he doesn’t play the game the right way?

  8. racksie - Oct 19, 2013 at 11:51 AM

    It’s just him wanting to showboat, and bring attention to himself. Likely he won’t get that reigned in until he hears it from another player from his country, or at the very least, the same cultural background. That is not a slight, but as Mattingly said, he needs to learn it is a team. And his actions, in the field, at the plate, and all around attitude have repercussions on his teammates. He’s young. He’ll figure it out. One way or another.

  9. dirtydrew - Oct 19, 2013 at 12:03 PM

    In your face LA. GO GIANTS!

    • deaninajijic - Oct 19, 2013 at 12:11 PM

      Pathetic comment

    • bluesfan58 - Oct 19, 2013 at 12:32 PM

      I must have missed it…what time IS the Giants’ game today?

  10. rcm54 - Oct 19, 2013 at 12:10 PM

    Puig’s play reminds me of a three-year old ‘puppy’ that was NEVER house-trained … often cute and lovable, but chews on the dining room table legs and craps on the carpet. Puig has been talked but it doesn’t quite soak through his thick skull. Mattingly may eventually figure out that the only way to tame Puig is to pull him out of games or to park him on the bench the following day. If it turns out he plays in just 95 games in 2014, well…it’s part of the learning process.

    • racksie - Oct 19, 2013 at 4:23 PM

      Actually that was done a few times this year. In the middle of a game even. Thick skull is right. I have a feeling spring training next year will be a revelation for him. Doubt it will happen, but he’d may start the year at AAA to get his head on right. But the talent level is so high, it is almost impossible to do. So find a veteran BASEBALL player to counsel him, and see if he gets it. And for the record, Delmon Young has suffered through the same issues, and can not find a place on a team, because his teammates don’t like him, and the talent has never panned out. And he can’t hit his weight. And he has dropped some pounds….

  11. peekssf - Oct 19, 2013 at 1:02 PM

    I believe the giants play the same time as the dodgers. Both are sitting but the giants are sitting with two World Series championships out of the past 3 years. The dodgers are sitting with a Giant payroll and little else

  12. beachnbaseball - Oct 19, 2013 at 3:04 PM

    Puig quickly went from being an exciting player I couldn’t wait to watch to a player I wish I had never heard of. He’s got a lot of growing up to do and has to stop being in love with himself. It’s a team game, kid. Learn how to play it the right way.

  13. mkprz - Oct 19, 2013 at 3:18 PM

    First of all Puig got them to where they are, but he needs some maturing. He’ll get better.
    The commentators had it perfect.
    Ron Darling, Cal Ripken Jr,, Pedro Martinez and Gary Sheffield nailed it perfect.
    They were great as commentators.
    Theses are seasoned, ex-Major Leaguers and should be listened to.
    When Mattingly took out Gonzalez for a pinch runner, they called that bad move right when it happened.
    About the extra innings and needing Gonzalez.
    They questioned before the game, about the indecision over Ramirez and Punto.
    That whole thing screwed with players mind set and they called the injury and about his limited movement.
    Ramirez could have made so many stops on the grounders had he dove, but he couldn’t.
    They called for Punto from the onset of the game.
    The Dodgers lost this series on managing, period.
    Poor batting practices. The Cards figured out their batting moves right off the bat.
    Take first pitch and start with a 0-1 count. Obviously taught.
    Ethier is a good player, but he’s been out all of September.
    Shumaker should have stayed.
    All the commentators called it WAY BEORE the games ever started.
    No 20-20 on these games.
    Good, smart commentating.
    Good job TBS on the NLCS.

  14. mkprz - Oct 19, 2013 at 3:22 PM

    Oh, and the hitting of Ramirez was intentional and the Dodgers woosed-out out by not retaliating.
    Not breaking a rib, but him getting hit. The Cards got lucky by breaking a rib.

  15. louhudson23 - Oct 19, 2013 at 3:26 PM

    By next spring,it will be all about his line and how his numbers fill the spreadsheets and we will be told to forget all about how it is game play(offensively and defensively) that wins championships and start the whole stats fetish all over again….until then,we have great baseball…..then the long winter without….

  16. mkprz - Oct 19, 2013 at 3:34 PM

    Dodgers kick butt on the “Stand -Off.”
    Way to go Dodgers!!!!!

  17. penzfan329 - Oct 19, 2013 at 3:35 PM

    If puig would have had a good game we would have been talking about how great he is for the fans with the way he plays. But since he had an off game we talk about how he needs to mature up. This is just dumb. Puig needs to keep doing what he is doing. He is great for the game of baseball

  18. nothanksimdriving123 - Oct 19, 2013 at 3:42 PM

    Y el señor Puig, también se debe hacer una prioridad de aprender Inglés, muy pronto.

  19. jhaegs - Oct 19, 2013 at 3:48 PM

    Why are we talking about the Dodgers? Aren’t they hanging out with Mickey Mouse right now?

    • Anoesis - Oct 19, 2013 at 5:21 PM

      Hose A.

  20. stlunatik - Oct 19, 2013 at 4:41 PM

    @ Los Angeles Dodgers:

    How much are you going to spend next season to lose again?

    • Anoesis - Oct 19, 2013 at 5:21 PM

      Hose B. A pair of “the best fans in baseball.”

  21. provguard - Oct 19, 2013 at 4:55 PM

    First we can attempt to teach our kids before they turn into idiots like the aforementioned, “Humble winners and Gracious losers”.. It isn’t winning that is so important, it is how you attempt to win…

    If losing is death like, then we all are there, because there is no such thing as a superman. If you believe so, then you need to back away from the Marvel comic books..

  22. kenzyme - Oct 19, 2013 at 8:22 PM

    that’ll do, Puig. that’ll do.

  23. jimeejohnson - Oct 19, 2013 at 9:31 PM

    Puig went 5-for-22 with 10 strikeouts against the Cards.

  24. 6stn - Oct 20, 2013 at 5:39 AM

    When I first saw him play, my thoughts were of Mays and Clemente, but over the last couple of months, he reminded me of Kevin Mitchell, Garry Templeton, and Joe Pepitone. Million-dollar potential with a ten-cent brain.

    • bbk1000 - Oct 20, 2013 at 6:12 AM

      Does Puig wear a toupee?

  25. chumthumper - Oct 20, 2013 at 7:00 AM

    Shucks, that’s just Yasiel being Yasiel.

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