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Slumping Yasiel Puig gets a breather

By Larry Millson, The Sports Xchange
Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder Yasiel Puig (66). Photo by Rich Kane/UPI
Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder Yasiel Puig (66). Photo by Rich Kane/UPI | License Photo

TORONTO -- Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder Yasiel Puig began on the bench Sunday for the second time in seven games, but he is expected to return to the starting lineup Monday in the opener of a four-game series against the New York Mets at Dodger Stadium.

One of the reasons for his benching was that he is swinging at too many bad pitches. Trayce Thompson got the start in right field Sunday, a 4-2 Los Angeles victory over the Toronto Blue Jays.

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"We've got a stretch of a lot of games, and I want him to be ready for the Mets series," manager Dave Roberts said. "We've got players on the roster that need to play. Trayce is swinging well, and I've got him in there."

Puig entered Sunday's game in right field in the eighth inning, replacing left fielder Carl Crawford in the batting order. Thompson moved from right field to left.

Puig singled in the ninth inning, bumping his batting average to .243 and his on-base percentage to .294. He has three home runs and 12 RBIs.

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In his first 10 games, he batted .405 with five walks. In 20 games since, he is batting .162 with one walk in 74 at-bats. He has whiffed 20 times in that span.

"He had a couple of good games in Tampa, but I think I just want to see consistently better at-bats," Roberts said. "I think he's, again, swinging at too many balls out of the strike zone and, ironically, a little more passive with balls in the zone.

"I'm not too concerned with results, it's more the process and quality. Just give him a day to clear his head and get ready for the Mets. Mechanical is fine, but it's tough to be too sound mechanically when you're swinging at balls out of the strike zone."

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