Yasiel Puig Benched After Four Innings As Don Mattingly Looks for ‘Better Effort’ Elsewhere

Yasiel PuigLOS ANGELES — After four innings of watching Yasiel Puig, manager Don Mattingly had seen enough.

The Cuban rookie was pulled from Wednesday’s Dodgers-Cubs game, and he then met with Mattingly and general manager Ned Colletti behind closed doors after Los Angeles beat Chicago 4-0.

Mattingly wasn’t willing to specify exactly why he pulled Puig for Skip Schumaker, saying only, “I felt I was going to get a better effort out of Skip.”

Puig didn’t slide into second base to try to break up a double play in the first inning and got upset after striking out in the third, slamming his bat. He is hitting .346.

“I wasn’t prepared well for each pitch. It was a good decision,” Puig said through a translator about being removed. “He mentioned Skip could come in and do a better job.”

Schumaker went 1-for-1 with a walk.

“I wanted to finish the game, but I agreed with the explanation,” Puig said. “The meeting went well. We talked about what every player needs to do to prepare for every pitch.”

The Dodgers are off Thursday, and Mattingly said Puig would be in the lineup Friday when the San Diego Padres come to town. The manager wouldn’t say whether any discipline was involved Wednesday.

“What he did today wasn’t acceptable,” Dodgers starter Ricky Nolasco said of Puig. “He’s young. He’s going to have to learn. It’s not going to be a distraction. He’s going to help this team way more than what he did.”

Last week, Puig was held out of the starting lineup for a game in Miami, but Mattingly reiterated that the 22-year-old outfielder was simply given a day off that had already been planned.

Puig’s removal overshadowed a second straight dominating performance by Nolasco, who pitched eight innings of three-hit ball.

Nolasco (11-9) struck out a season high-tying 11, walked one and permitted only one runner to reach third base. Acquired in a trade with Florida in early July, the right-hander won his sixth straight start in August.

“I know what’s at stake pitching here and the chase we’re in now,” Nolasco said. “My breaking stuff was pretty good. I just try to keep attacking the zone and put a lot of pressure on them.”

Hanley Ramirez and Andre Ethier hit solo homers for the first-place Dodgers, who earned their 21st victory in August to tie the Los Angeles record for most wins in a calendar month. They avoided a second straight series loss by taking two of three from the last-place Cubs.

The Dodgers’ 19th shutout of the season leads the majors and is their most since 1989, when they also had 19.

“It was a battle from the first pitch,” said Brian Bogusevic, who was 0-for-3 against Nolasco. “He never got into a pattern with certain pitches and certain counts or situations. You could never really look for anything in particular. He’s pitching as well as anybody for them right now.”

Edwin Jackson (7-14) gave up four runs — two earned — and six hits against his old team. He struck out five and walked two.

“That’s a tough lineup, and the pitching staff is doing well, too,” Jackson said. “You have to limit the amount of mistakes you make when you’re playing against them.”

The Cubs have lost nine of 12 and went 2-4 on their West Coast trip. Manager Dale Sveum was ejected in the bottom of the first for arguing a checked swing by Puig with first base umpire Lance Barksdale.

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