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Roberts praises Puig for energy, outlook

'He has a clean slate with me,' Dodgers manager says of outfielder
MLB.com @kengurnick

PHOENIX -- Former Dodgers manager Don Mattingly left the club frustrated in his dealings with Yasiel Puig, but successor Dave Roberts is still in honeymoon mode, offering glowing platitudes when asked on Sunday about the talented outfielder.

"He's been fantastic," Roberts said. "He's been healthy, he feels good, his energy, his outlook on things related to teammates has been great. We are friends, I'm friends with all of my players. You've got to have that trust with a manager, a coach, a player. Absolutely, I consider him a friend."

PHOENIX -- Former Dodgers manager Don Mattingly left the club frustrated in his dealings with Yasiel Puig, but successor Dave Roberts is still in honeymoon mode, offering glowing platitudes when asked on Sunday about the talented outfielder.

"He's been fantastic," Roberts said. "He's been healthy, he feels good, his energy, his outlook on things related to teammates has been great. We are friends, I'm friends with all of my players. You've got to have that trust with a manager, a coach, a player. Absolutely, I consider him a friend."

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Roberts said he's learned aspects of Puig's personality he didn't know about.

"He's fun-loving, he's intelligent and he's not naïve," Roberts said. "He's very in tune with what's going on around him. And I think that's special. People feel that maybe because of the language barrier, he comes from a different culture, that there's a little bit of naiveté. But he's very aware.

"I think there's a transition. I can't speak to his path and [the] adjustment he's had to make. What I do know is our job is to get the best out of him as a person and as a player. As I said many times over the winter, he has a clean slate with me and he's shown me nothing to think anything else. It's the follow through. At this point, I'm seeing the follow through. ... You can say all the right things, but people judge the follow through."

Roberts also addressed managing the expectations for rookie shortstop Corey Seager.

"It's nice that you have a supporting cast as far as a veteran group," Roberts said. "There are expectations on him as far as the skill set. As an organization, we just expect Corey to be Corey and expect him to make adjustments to the league and they will make adjustments to him. It's a cat-and-mouse game. They've got a one-month sample [from September]. We don't expect him to carry the load in any way."

Roberts didn't offer a clue where he would bat Seager in the order. In 27 regular-season games last year, Seager hit second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth and eighth. In the posteason, Seager batted second, third and fifth twice.

"If he's at the top of the order, there's definitely some importance on it," Roberts said. "Some young players with incredible skill sets, you want to bat them lower in the order. But some guys can handle it."

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com.

Los Angeles Dodgers, Yasiel Puig