You may have noticed Yasiel Puig putting just about zero effort into trying to beat out a weak grounder off Juan Nicasio last night, and I imagine at the time many fans were shocked at what appeared to be the utter indifference on his part. Obviously, this doesn’t look great:
But of course there’s more to it than that, and as Vin Scully was careful to point out, Puig is still suffering from a sore left hip that’s bothered him ever since he ran into the right field wall in Colorado on July 3. Puig left last night’s game after just two plate appearances, the second day in a row he couldn’t complete nine, and it’s difficult to look at the “before” and “after” stat line around that incident and not think there’s a connection.
June 3 – July 3: 116 PA, .440/.466/.743, 8 home runs
July 4 – July 12: 42 PA .256/.310/.282, 0 home runs
Obviously we can’t assume that’s 100% related to the hip — we know that he was never, ever going to hit .440 all season long, and it’s clear teams have figured out his propensity to swing at terrible outside breaking pitches, so some regression was inevitable here — but the before and after lines there really show a stark comparison.
Of course, with Matt Kemp sidelined, Carl Crawford aching, and the chance to pull closer to first place by the break so tempting, I can’t really blame Don Mattingly for not finding the idea of an outfield populated by two of Jerry Hairston, Skip Schumaker, & Scott Van Slyke around Andre Ethier very appealing. But I point this out mainly because it’s the approximately 623,917th example of a player trying to be a hero and playing through pain that probably isn’t going to end well. Even if Puig doesn’t further injure himself — and hip injuries are a tricky thing — he’s not really helping the team on the field all that much right now. He’ll never say he doesn’t want to play, and so it’s on management to protect him from himself.
We’re no doctors, of course, so it’s not on us to say what the condition of his hip truly is. But I know that if he were to get the weekend off ahead of a four-day break before the Dodgers pick up the second half on Friday in Washington, I wouldn’t be unhappy with that at all.