PHOENIX -- Yasiel Puig has work to do convincing skeptics that he's a new man, but he might have made some inroads Friday night.From the pair of two-run homers he hit in his first two at-bats, to the patient walk that followed and the interview he conducted with the media,
PHOENIX -- Yasiel Puig has work to do convincing skeptics that he's a new man, but he might have made some inroads Friday night.
From the pair of two-run homers he hit in his first two at-bats, to the patient walk that followed and the interview he conducted with the media, Puig was everything the Dodgers want him to be in a 12-2 win over Texas.
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"It's as simple as swinging at strikes and taking balls," manager Dave Roberts said. "Tonight he had a consistent approach all night and some good things happened. If Yasiel can just continue to prepare the right way, there's no reason why he can't be out there and perform."
And if he performs like he did Friday night, he can wipe away the disappointment of last year, which included a Minor League demotion. With John Forsythe going 3-for-3 at leadoff, Puig hit second, homered off Cole Hamels and Nick Martinez and walked. Franklin Gutierrez also homered off Hamels.
Puig reiterated that an offseason conditioning makeover, combined with extra batting-cage work, is paying off.
"I want to look for better pitches, not swing at every pitch and I'm doing great now, not because I hit two homers tonight but because I'm working hard," he said. "My goal in Spring Training is to keep working every day, coming early every day, do my job in the cage and that's why I feel better. I work a lot, I want this season to do what I didn't do last season. Be a good teammate, come early, listen to coaches and manager, that's my hope to do great in baseball."
Forsythe said his swing is starting to come around "and it's nice to see some results."
"We've got guys that can handle the bat and do damage throughout the lineup and if everybody's on, it's going to be fun to watch," Forsythe said. "We also did some good baserunning, dirtball reads, and didn't hesitate on the bases. All around it was a good game. We talk about winning every aspect of the game we can. That's what good teams do, staying locked in on every situation. The more you do that, the more positives you'll see and the less hiccups you'll see."
Gutierrez snapped an 0-for-19 start to spring.
"Gut is here to take at-bats against left-handed pitching," said Roberts. "Because it's Spring Training, he's faced a ton of right-handers and his swing has not been where it's going to be. Taking Cole Hamels the other way is a good sign."
Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2001.