Yasiel Puig is back, and Clayton Kershaw’s back goes to rehab

Two big pieces of news came on the off-day, and it involved two of the biggest names on the Dodgers: Clayton Kershaw and Yasiel Puig.

On Kershaw, there’s real hope again that he’ll make it back before the end of the season, as he’s being sent on a rehab assignment.

Squee! Kershaw might actually come back in 2016. He’ll pitch in an organized game for the first time since June 26. Sure, it’s High-A, but it’s a step up from simulated games and bullpens. If he can come back and be anything close to what he has been throughout his career, the Dodgers become a much more dangerous team. Now, if Rich Hill‘s blister would just start cooperating…

But arguably the bigger (and less predictable) news came on the Puig front:

While indications the last day or two were that the Dodgers would give him one more chance, I am still surprised he’s coming back. I was convinced Puig had played his last game with the Dodgers when he was demoted to Triple-A the day after the non-waiver trade deadline. His party bus antics didn’t do anything to make me think otherwise, but other than that (if it can be considered a thing), all reports say he has been a model citizen while with Oklahoma City. Oh, and he also produced at the plate to the tune of a .348/.400/.594 line. At the end of the day, Puig must have done enough to convince the front office that he was worthy of being recalled when rosters expand.

Make no mistake: This is Puig’s last shot with the Dodgers. If he took the demotion to Triple-A to heart and really is committed to doing the things he needs to do to be success in the majors, then great. But if he slips or falls back into his old routine/bad habits, he’s gone. Hell, the Dodgers still might trade him come the off-season, regardless. But there was no way he was going to get traded during the waiver period, as only one team would have a shot at him, and word is that team/those teams only had interest in claiming Puig to block other clubs from getting a shot at him.

The demotion made sense even if it wasn’t handled the best by the front office, but it seems after an alleged closed-door meeting, the two sides are seeing eye-to-eye on things. Puig is still immensely talented and athletic, so if Puig can come back and be productive, that also gives the Dodgers a boost — especially against left-handed pitching because the team is still struggling against southpaws. And he has the ability to be much, much more than a platoon option in right field.

I’m glad to be wrong on this issue. I just hope we get more of the 2013-14 Puig rather than the 2015-16 version.

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In non-Kershaw or Puig news, the Dodgers are also expected to recall Austin Barnes, Louis Coleman and Josh Ravin. There will be more as the month progresses — either from Triple-A or the disabled list.

About Dustin Nosler

Dustin Nosler
Dustin Nosler began writing about the Dodgers in July 2009 at his blog, Feelin' Kinda Blue. He co-hosts a weekly podcast with Jared Massey called Dugout Blues. He is a contributor/editor at The Hardball Times. He graduated from California State University, Sacramento, with his bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in digital media. While at CSUS, he worked for the student-run newspaper The State Hornet for three years, culminating with a 1-year term as editor-in-chief. He resides in Stockton, Calif.