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Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke cautions, "It’s early so we’ll see how it keeps going. You don’t want to give someone too much credit too soon."
The Dodgers gave Puig a lot of money even though only two of their scouts had even seen him.
The 6-foot-3, 245-pounder signed a $42 million, seven-year contract last June, a record for a Cuban defector. He received a $12 million signing bonus and is making $2 million this season.
Puig is the first Cuban to play for the Dodgers since pitcher Danys Baez in 2006 and the first position player since Zoilo Versalles in 1968.
He lives in Miami, where he bought a house for his parents and 17-year-old sister, all of whom attended his big-league debut last week.
Puig’s first week heroics may have taken fans by surprise, but the Dodgers knew what he was capable of. They saw his talent in spring training with the big-league club, although he was sent down to start the season, with the front office hoping he could learn the game and hone his hitting away from the spotlight.
Attention found Puig in April when he was arrested for driving 97 mph in a 50 mph zone in Chattanooga, Tenn. On the field, he was hitting .313 with eight homers and 37 RBIs in 40 games before getting called up.
Puig has seemingly adjusted well in the clubhouse, where his corner locker is located between fellow Spanish speakers Luis Cruz and Adrian Gonzalez, whose fatherly advice for the rookie was "just be yourself."
"He’s an energetic guy, eager to get on the field, loves the game, always has a big smile on his face," Gonzalez said. "This isn’t something he’s not prepared for."
Taped above Puig’s locker is a photo of a Hanley Ramirez bobblehead with Puig’s face superimposed on it. Ramirez’s name has been crossed out and Puig’s written in.
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