Somewhat lost in the midst of A.J. Ellis‘ knee surgery, Matt Kemp‘s two homers, Tuesday night’s exciting extra innings victory over Detroit, minor trades for minor leaguers, and the recent uncertainty over whether Josh Beckett would be able to make tonight’s start is the fact that Yasiel Puig has played exactly once since last Wednesday. That’s partially his own doing (his deserved benching for being late), partially due to the schedule (something like 78 days off this month), but mostly because he did this on Saturday:
It’s the Nick Punto special: sliding into head first for any other reason than to avoid the tag. It lessens your chances of being safe, and it increases your chances of being injured. It didn’t look quite as bad as this train wreck from Puig’s first week in the bigs last year…
…but it appears to have had more of an effect, because Puig didn’t appear on Sunday or Tuesday — even as a replacement — and, I would imagine, probably isn’t starting tonight, either. (Detroit has Anibal Sanchez on the mound, a righty, so having lefties Carl Crawford and Andre Ethier around Matt Kemp makes sense.)
We know that he’s wearing a splint, similar to what Hanley Ramirez had last year. But we also know that when Ramirez hurt his thumb last year, he was out for over a month. When Dee Gordon hurt his thumb, also on a head first slide, back in 2012, he was out for over two months. Obviously, every injury is unique — Gordon’s included a dislocation, and I think we’d have heard about anything that serious with Puig by now if it were the case — and so just because his teammates had bad thumb injuries doesn’t mean that he does as well.
Still, after a day off tomorrow (ugh), the team heads off on a six-game road trip to Arizona and San Francisco (with yet another day off, double ugh). If Puig doesn’t show some improvement soon, at least proving he can take batting practice tonight, you wonder how long this can linger before it turns into a disabled list stint. And if it does, you hope that it’s just rest that’s required, nothing more serious. Speculation, of course. For now, that’s all we have.
In the meantime, there’s still no such thing as “too many outfielders” until there are. And remember, kids: never, ever slide head first.