ST. LOUIS -- Dodgers rookie Andrew Toles replaced Yasiel Puig in right field Saturday night in St. Louis due to tightness in Puig's right hamstring and was in the lineup again Sunday night as his replacement. Toles rocketed through the Minors after signing with Los Angeles last October and is making an impact as a left-handed bat when the Dodgers need it most.
The No. 28 prospect in the Dodgers system according to MLBPipeline.com, Toles is hitting .333 (9-for-27) in his first 11 Major League games. He had his first multi-hit game Saturday and scored twice on a 3-for-4 night. Toles has hit safely in four of six starts and seven of his first 11 games.
"As the league starts to learn a little bit more, he's going to have to make some adjustments, whatever they might be," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "He's not afraid and he's fun. I like his energy."
For the moment, Toles' speed is carrying him to success. Saturday he scored from first on Joc Pederson's single and a Cardinals throwing error, then later came home on a squeeze bunt from Kenta Maeda. He had 23 stolen bases and was caught nine times in the Minor Leagues this season.
"I think he's got a simple approach and he sees ball, hits ball," Roberts said. "That element of speed is something we definitely don't have, so it's fun, especially for me, to see."
A third-round Draft pick of the Rays in 2012, Toles came with baggage after he was dismissed from the University of Tennessee, but the risk paid off for Tampa Bay after he hit .326 with 62 stolen bases and 57 RBIs in his first full season at the Class A level.
Two years later, he was released before Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman, who drafted Toles three years earlier, decided to take a chance on him.
Toles started this season at Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga, where he played 22 games and hit .370 before a callup to Double-A Tulsa. He proved himself capable again with a .314 average and .877 OPS over 43 games. His shortest stint came at Triple-A Oklahoma City, where he played eight games before receiving a callup to the Dodgers.
Puig was left out of the lineup for the third straight game as a precaution Sunday. He was available to pinch-hit, as he did Friday, but Roberts warned there is a chance they might have to put Puig on the disabled list.
If so, Toles has shown he can do the job.
"Our farm system has done a great job developing young players," Roberts said. "He's a pro. He's excited to be here and he works. He can hit. He can defend. It's just a nice shot in the arm for our guys."