6/4/2013 3:18 A.M. ET
Puig shows off skills in Major League debut
By Austin Laymance and Lyle Spencer / MLB.com
LOS ANGELES -- Yasiel Puig, the Dodgers' 22-year-old sensation of the spring, was welcomed to Dodger Stadium for his Major League debut on Monday night with a start in right field and the leadoff role against Padres left-hander Eric Stults.
Puig responded with a single in his first at-bat, and an incredible throw from the warning track in right to double off Chris Denorfia at first to end the ninth and cap a 2-1 Dodgers win.
"I'm very happy," said Puig, who went 2-for-4 to become the first Dodger with a multi-hit game in his big league debut since Russell Martin in 2006. "I got two hits. We won the game. I made the last out of the game. Thank God."
Puig caught a fly ball by Kyle Blanks a few steps in front of the wall, and fired to first to beat Denorfia just in time. Denorfia had slid into second base as infielders Nick Punto and Luis Cruz faked like they were fielding a ground ball.
"He's got a great arm," said first baseman Adrian Gonzalez. "That was a great play. It started with Nick and Cruz faking Denorfia out to give Puig a chance. But that was an incredible throw."
Puig, a native of Cuba who signed last year to a seven-year, $42 million Major League contract, was hitting .313 with eight homers and 37 RBIs in 40 games for Double-A Chattanooga. His .599 slugging percentage was leading the Southern League along with his batting average. He also has 13 steals.
"I'm real excited," Puig said through an interpreter, "and want to help the Dodgers fight the battle. I know I can come up here and help the team. I'm going to do whatever I can to help the team."
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said he wanted to keep Puig in right field, his primary position at Chattanooga, with Andre Ethier moving to center. Matt Kemp and Carl Crawford, two-thirds of the regular outfield, are on the disabled list. The young outfielder replaced Matt Magill, who made a spot start on Sunday, on the 25-man roster.
As for having the new man assume Crawford's leadoff role, Mattingly said, "He gives us energy at the top. He can steal a base, hit a homer. I just want him to play, that's all. It's his first game. I'm sure there are going to be some nerves."
Mattingly said he sees some Bo Jackson and Mike Trout in the 6-foot-3, 215-pound Puig from a physical standpoint.
"He's got that NFL running back type body," Mattingly said.
Puig left a deep impression on everyone who saw him in Cactus League play, hitting .517 with five doubles, two triples, three homers and 11 RBIs in 27 games before he was optioned to Minor League camp on March 26.
Padres manager Bud Black wasn't sure how to pronounce his name, but didn't mind sharing the outline of a scouting report on Puig.
"He's very talented," Black said."He's got a lot of tools. He's got some power. He's got some speed. He has a good throwing arm. He has the hit tool. It looks like he can hit."
Controlling his aggression at the plate figures to be Puig's biggest early challenge in the Majors, where he figures to see a steady diet of off-speed pitches.
"Yasiel is a really confident kid," Mattingly said. "He plays hard. He's fun to watch. We saw him in spring hit balls to right-center on a line, hit a popup and end up at third. It's just the energy he brings, so many things [to like about him]."
Dodgers call up Fife to make spot start for Capuano
LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers needed a spot starter for a second straight day on Monday, with right-hander Stephen Fife recalled from Triple-A Albuquerque to fill in for left-hander Chris Capuano against the Padres at Dodger Stadium. The team made room for Fife by placing outfielder Carl Crawford on the 15-day disabled list with a left hamstring strain.
Fife earned his first Major League win in seven career starts, charged with one run on five hits in 5 1/3 innings as the Dodgers prevailed, 2-1.
"It's pretty cool," said Fife, who struck out five against two walks. "This is the first one and you always remember it. And to do it in that fashion with a spot start, it's pretty awesome."
Capuano, nursing a strained triceps muscle in his pitching arm, was scheduled to have an MRI exam on Monday afternoon. Mattingly said he expects Capuano to start on Saturday, though the manager did not know the results of the MRI when he spoke to the media before Monday's game.
"I'm assuming, and I guess I shouldn't at this point with our club, he's going to be OK and he's going to make his next start," Mattingly said before Monday's game. "The only thing that will change that is if the MRI comes back and shows something that tells us differently. But as of this moment, I talked to him before he went [for the MRI], he feels like it will be no problem at all making that start. But again, at this point it's hard to assume anything. We'll let the MRI tell us, but right now I'm assuming he will be able to make that start."
Capuano said he strained his left triceps muscle during Wednesday's start vs. the Angels.
Fife made a spot start on April 21 at Baltimore when Chad Billingsley's elbow blew out. Fife allowed four runs on seven hits in 4 2/3 innings, then revealed he had a sore shoulder.
Fife was placed on the disabled list after that outing and pitched four innings in a rehab start with Class A Rancho Cucamonga on May 28. He was reinstated from the disabled list last week and sent to Albuquerque, where he was scheduled to start on Sunday, but was held back because of uncertainty regarding Capuano's health.
The Dodgers also used an emergency starter on Sunday at Colorado, when Matt Magill was called up to fill in for Hyun-Jin Ryu, who has a sore left foot.
Dodgers expected to activate Hanley on Tuesday
LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers are expected to activate Hanley Ramirez from the disabled list on Tuesday. The shortstop made his third Minor League rehab appearance on Monday with no apparent issues from a strained left hamstring.
Ramirez played six innings at shortstop with Rancho Cucamonga on Monday night, and went 1-for-3 with a double. In three rehab games with the Quakes, Ramirez went 2-for-9 with two RBIs.
"I'm hoping to get Hanley back tomorrow," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said after Monday's win over the Padres, 2-1.
Ramirez has played in only four games with the Dodgers this year.
He began the season on the disabled list, recovering from surgery to repair a torn ligament in his right thumb sustained while playing with the Dominican Republic during the World Baseball Classic in March. Ramirez returned earlier that expected on April 29. He went 5-for-11 in four games, including three starts, before straining his hamstring on May 3 in San Francisco while running the bases.
With foot feeling better, Ryu expects to start Friday
LOS ANGELES -- Left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu tested his sore left foot in a rare bullpen session on Monday and the Dodgers expect him to start on Friday.
Ryu threw about 25 pitches during a light bullpen session and said his foot was progressing.
"It's a lot better today," Ryu said through interpreter Martin Kim. "I'm pretty confident I should make my next start."
The Dodgers expect Ryu to take the mound on Friday against the Braves at Dodger Stadium.
"If everything continues to go good, he's going to pitch Friday," manager Don Mattingly said before Monday's game against the Padres. "If he doesn't have any setbacks, we're going to go with him Friday."
Ryu had his scheduled start on Sunday pushed back because he was still sore after taking a comebacker off the top of his left foot during his shutout of the Angels on Tuesday.
Matt Magill was recalled from Triple-A to start in place of Ryu in Colorado and took the loss, allowing seven runs on five hits in six innings. Magill was optioned after the game to make room on the 25-man roster for outfielder Yasiel Puig, the organization's No. 1 prospect.
Elbert shut down after latest setback in rehab
LOS ANGELES -- Left-handed reliever Scott Elbert suffered a setback during his Minor League rehab assignment and has been shut down.
Elbert's surgically repaired left elbow did not respond well to pitching on consecutive days, May 25-26, with Double-A Chattanooga, according to Dodgers manager Don Mattingly.
The Dodgers hoped to activate Elbert in June, but that appears unlikely now. There is no timetable for Elbert to resume his rehab assignment.
In five rehab appearances with Chattanooga, Elbert allowed two runs on three hits in 4 1/3 innings with three strikeouts. He began his rehab assignment May 10 with Class A Rancho Cucamonga and pitched three scoreless innings, then advanced to Double-A.
Elbert had two operations on his left elbow during the offseason. He has not pitched in the Majors since August of last year.
Hamstring strain lands Crawford on 15-day DL
LOS ANGELES -- Carl Crawford became the latest Dodgers outfielder to go on the disabled list because of a strained hamstring on Monday.
Crawford was placed on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to June 2, with a strained left hamstring. The left fielder felt a cramp in his leg while running out a double in the third inning of Saturday's loss in Colorado and was immediately removed from the game.
The Dodgers hoped Crawford would only miss a couple of days, but an MRI revealed a strain, and the club decided to disable the former All-Star.
"It's not major," manager Don Mattingly said before Monday's game against the Padres. "But it wasn't going to be four days or five days. After [the medical staff] saw the MRI today, they felt like it was going to be a couple of weeks."
In a corresponding roster move, the Dodgers recalled right-hander Stephen Fife from Triple-A Albuquerque to start in place of left-hander Chris Capuano, who is nursing a strained triceps muscle in his pitching arm.
Crawford has been dealing with tight hamstrings for much of the season and missed two games because of it. He was held out of Friday's lineup after crashing into the wall making a catch in Anaheim on Thursday, but Crawford said he wasn't sure if the hamstring injury was related to that.
Center fielder Matt Kemp went on the disabled list on Thursday because of a right hamstring strain sustained during Wednesday's game in Anaheim. Kemp is rehabbing in Arizona at the Dodgers' Spring Training facility at Camelback Ranch-Glendale.
Hanley Ramirez is also on the disabled list because of a strained left hamstring, but the club expects to activate the shortstop before Tuesday's game if all goes well in his rehab game with Class A Rancho Cucamonga on Monday night.
Austin Laymance is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Lyle Spencer is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.