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Dodgers' Puig might be back in lineup Friday

By By The Sports Xchange
Published On: Apr 10 2014 09:38:31 AM CDT
Yasiel Puig, Los Angeles Dodgers

Bill Kostroun/Reuters

LOS ANGELES -

Yasiel Puig made a surprise appearance for the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday.

Out of the starting lineup for the third consecutive game due to a sprained ligament in his left thumb, Puig was used as a pinch hitter in the ninth inning of the Dodgers' 7-6, 10-inning loss to the Detroit Tigers.

Puig struck out on three pitches, his first at-bat since Saturday.

The second-year outfielder was fitted with a splint -- similar to the one Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez wore after returning from a torn ligament in his thumb last spring -- that helped him grip a bat.

"It's a bit uncomfortable, but I will adapt," Puig said through an interpreter.

He took swings in the batting cage Tuesday under the stands at Dodger Stadium in case he was needed as a pinch hitter. On Wednesday, he took batting practice on the field with the team.

The Dodgers are off Thursday, giving Puig's thumb another day to heal, and manager Don Mattingly said it was possible Puig would be back in the lineup Friday when the Dodgers open a three-game series in Arizona.

With Puig out, Mattingly has not had to deal with his overcrowded outfield situation. The same trio (Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and Carl Crawford) started each of the past three games and four of the past five, including last Friday's game, when Puig was benched for arriving late to the park.