While many fans and writers have lamented Wednesday's benching of Yasiel Puig -- and his general treatment by the team/media over the last three months -- at least one Dodgers player says that manager Don Mattingly "gained respect in the clubhouse" by sitting the rookie outfielder, reports Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.
The player added that Puig also endeared himself to teammates in his response to the situation by heeding the advice of veterans and taking responsibility for his actions during his postgame chat with the media.
Mattingly did not immediately disclose why he chose to sit Puig after the fourth inning -- stating only that he thought Skip Schumaker gave the Dodgers a better chance to win -- but word eventually got around that it was something to do with Yasiel's lack of preparedness in the field. Said Puig, after the game:
"I wasn’t preparing well for each pitch ... [The benching] was a good decision."
While not hustling on every pitch is probably something all MLB players are guilty of at one point or another, Puig's unreadiness was essentially the straw breaking the camel's back. His Dodgers teammates have reportedly imparted advice to him over the last several weeks to help him "refine" his approach, per Rosenthal, but it has taken time for the message to sink in.
Given the star rookie's measured response to the latest chapter in the "Yasiel Puig, problem child" saga, one can hope that the strange soap opera is nearing it's conclusion. The Dodgers currently hold a pretty hefty lead in the NL West and boast a 78-55 record on the year.