When the Los Angeles Dodgers took the field for their Cactus League opener on Friday, Yasiel Puig was not with them. He was supposed to be, according to manager Dave Roberts, but he was ultimately scratched with what will go down as the first weird ailment of the 2018 season.
According to Roberts, Puig is dealing with some hip soreness. That by itself is not uncommon. In fact, soreness at this point in spring training is almost expected. Even though the players do an exceptional job keeping themselves in shape during the offseason, there’s still always an adjustment period to the early spring training workouts.
The believed cause of Puig’s soreness though is a new one as it relates to baseball. That’s because, Roberts says Puig’s new shoes were to blame.
Yasiel Puig was scratched because of “something with the hip” caused by his new shoes, Dave Roberts said.
— Andy McCullough (@McCulloughTimes) February 23, 2018
We’re all well aware of the importance of finding comfortable shoes. Shoes (and baseball cleats too) affect the way we walk, the way we stand, and can impact our muscles and joints if forced to compensate for soreness. Adjusting to a new pair of shoes is the most common time to experience that soreness.
Unfortunately for Puig, it sounds like his shoes got the best of him. Of course, the good news is that he should be good to go in short order. The Dodgers are just being extra cautious with his health as all teams are in February.
Once Puig manages the soreness and gets adjusted to his shoes, his next goal will be building on a strong 2017 regular season and a dynamic postseason where he was making positive headlines almost every day. Puig finished the season with 28 home runs, 74 RBIs, and 15 stolen bases, to go along with a respectable .263 batting average.
The Dodgers managed fine without Puig on Friday, defeating the Chicago White Sox 13-5. Among the offensive stars was Matt Kemp, who went 2-for-2 with a three-run home run. It’s anybody’s guess right now what the Dodgers outfield will look like on opening day, but one story to follow this spring, aside from Puig’s shoes having enough toe room, is whether the outfield will have enough room for both Puig and Kemp.
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