LOS ANGELES — Yasiel Puig has made the Dodgers playoff roster dramatically, like just about everything he does.
It was not a given that Puig would make the National League division series roster, since he has played in just two games since returning from a hamstring injury that caused him to miss all of September. He surely made the cut because outfielder Scott Van Slyke has wrist inflammation and has not made much progress.
Puig said Wednesday that he was on the roster and would come off the bench. On Saturday, he returned to the Dodgers lineup for the first time since the injury and was 1-for-5 in two games back.
“I’m very happy I’ve been given the opportunity to prepare with the team as they get ready for the postseason,” Puig said through an interpreter. “That’s what I’m doing. I have to do my best to prove myself and give myself an opportunity to come off the bench and do something. In the meantime, I’m supporting my teammates who have worked so hard to get here.”
The series features two Cuban outfielders, Puig and Yoenis Cespedes. Both are power-hitting right-handers and potential game-changers who have done well in the postseason.
“I know him very well. We played in Cuba together,” Puig said. “I know he’s a great ballplayer. Not only here in the States but also in Cuba.”
Cespedes, traded to the Mets midseason, is a steady leader and a model of consistency. He is a career .350 hitter in the postseason.
“I’m very happy for him that he landed with the Mets,” Puig said. “It’s a great opportunity there. He’s a very special player. I’m happy for us both and look forward to playing with him. It’s going to be a great series, not only for both teams but for us Cubans playing against each other. It’s an honor to play against him.”
Manager Don Mattingly said that Puig was “a little rusty,” but that anything could happen in the playoffs. Puig is batting .314 with 5 RBI over the last two postseasons.
This season has been Puig’s worst. He played in just 79 games and batted .255 with 11 home runs and 38 RBI. He struck out 66 times.
Puig has had a problem with being on time. Last year, he was late to Dodger Stadium on Opening Day and scratched from the lineup. That left him crying in the clubhouse.
For all the drama, he can be counted on against left-handers in the division series.
“The first year I came up, I was playing every day; obviously, it’s a change,” Puig said. “This year, I missed most of the season. At this point, I have to try the best I can to contribute to the playoffs now that my teammates have put us here. I won’t be in a starting position, but that’s the situation I’m dealing with.”
At Wednesday’s workout, he talked with Dodgers scout Mike Brito, who discovered him.
“He said he’s confident,” Brito said. “He said he’s ready to help the team. The most important thing is, if you think positive. He’s got confidence that he’s going to do good.”