Puig doesn't run out ground ball to pitcher

Right fielder stays in game, atones with pair of hits

September 8th, 2019

MINNEAPOLIS -- often draws attention for his wildness on the basepaths. This time, the Indians' slugger turned heads by doing the exact opposite.

In the fourth inning of Saturday night’s 5-3 loss to the Twins at Target Field, Puig hit a 101.3 mph ground ball back to Jake Odorizzi on the mound. The man known as the “Wild Horse” had no interest in even attempting to jog down the first-base line to see how it would play out.

“You know what? That’s obviously not what we’re looking for and he knows that,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “That won’t happen again.”

Odorizzi fielded the ball and, looking up to see where Puig was, noticed that he had already turned back toward the Indians' dugout. With a perplexed look on his face, Odorizzi walked over to first base with the ball in his glove to officially record the out.

This occurred just two days after Francona sat his team down to express the importance of playing hard in the remaining 20 games in the regular season. Puig was met in the dugout by Carlos Santana, who seemed frustrated with his behavior.

“Yeah, our guys are good about that,” Francona said, when asked if Santana spoke to Puig.

“Santana was giving me advice that I need to run out every play and I’m 100 percent with him,” Puig said. “And I said sorry to him and said sorry to Tito. I’m supposed to run on that play. I don’t know what happened in my mind. I stayed at the plate not running. Tomorrow is a new day and I need to run every play. That’s not going to happen again.”

Despite his blunder, Puig stayed in the game, returning to right field for the bottom half of the inning. He later atoned by driving in Cleveland's first run of the game in the sixth inning and scoring on a Jason Kipnis single in the eighth following his second double of the night.

“I saw the ball great,” Puig said. “I tried the best I can on the play. They have good pitchers so I made good contact. I’ve been a little late for the fastballs and all the other pitches. Finally, I made a couple good contacts in the last at-bat and hopefully tomorrow’s game will go better for myself and all of my teammates.”