Yasiel Puig not expected to be suspended for scuffle, looks for fresh start in 2016

Yasiel Puig isn’t expected to be suspended for a bar scuffle that involved an alleged domestic violence incident with his sister, according to Pedro Gomez of ESPN.com.

While the investigation is not closed and a final decision might take some time, sources told Gomez nothing has been uncovered that would warrant a suspension.

A decision not to punish Puig certainly makes sense, unless somehow previously unknown evidence suddenly emerges. That’s because while the scuffle raised some concerns, any worries about the incident were significantly alleviated after it emerged that the report that triggered the domestic violence investigation by MLB had clearly identified the wrong guy as Puig. On top of that, the local police said that Puig had no shoving physical altercation with his sister, so clearing Puig seemed like a formality more than anything else.

Still, there was lingering concern over the investigation due to Puig’s case taking so long to conclude. After all, maybe the investigation did in fact reveal new information and the case was taking so long to wrap up because of that. As it turns out, though, the main reason it took so long was because Puig reportedly didn’t want to talk about it with MLB investigators.

Puig was said to be initially uncooperative with MLB investigators but has since obliged all requests from the league.

So barring some kind of shocking turn of events, it seems like Puig will be cleared by the investigation and will manage to avoid a suspension to begin the 2016 season.

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That’s certainly welcome news for Puig, who is looking to rebound in 2016 from an injury-plagued 2015, and is so far doing and and saying all the right things, according to Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times.

Only now, the most credible voice in the Dodgers clubhouse is supporting Puig’s claim that he is making a serious effort to change.

“I’ve been really impressed with him this spring,” pitcher Clayton Kershaw said. “He’s putting in a lot of work.”

“I watch what I eat now,” Puig said in Spanish, explaining that his diet consists primarily of fish and fruit.

Puig’s feelings toward his manager has also improved. Puig acknowledged he had a strained relationship with Roberts’ predecessor, Don Mattingly, who is now with the Miami Marlins. By the end of last season, Puig and Mattingly were barely on speaking terms.

“He did his job, I did mine,” Puig said. “We didn’t understand each other. Now that he’s not here, we don’t have to talk about him.”

Puig wanted instead to talk about Roberts.

“He and I are on the same page,” Puig said. “We have the same goals. We have a good friendship.”

Puig has been reunited with Tim Bravo, a former English instructor for the Dodgers who was his designated companion when he was called up to the major leagues in 2013. Puig called Bravo in the off-season and asked him to accompany him to spring training.

Of a possible return to the All-Star game, Puig said, “If I’m not there, it won’t kill me. What I want is to be a champion. To be a champion is better than to be in the All-Star game.”

As was noted by Dave Roberts though, just like with every ‘Best Shape Of My Life’ declaration, it’s easy to say and do the right things in spring training. However, what really matters is whether Puig can continue to put his words into action for the duration of the season and even the rest of his career. Skepticism over Puig’s about-face is understandable, but by all reports it’s at least a step in the right direction.

About Chad Moriyama

Chad Moriyama
"A highly rational Internet troll." - Los Angeles Times