The Year of Yasiel Puig

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Editor's note: With his exhilarating and aggressive style of play, Yasiel Puig has become perhaps baseball's most polarizing figure and a lightning rod for criticism. His first year in the majors has been a roller-coaster ride, both on and off the field. Here's a look back at the Year of Yasiel, beginning with the Cuban sensation's magical debut on June 3, 2013.


June 3, 2013 | THE DEBUT

Harry How/Getty Images

Yasiel Puig bats leadoff, goes 2-for-4 with a pair of singles and fires a strike from the warning track to Adrian Gonzalez at first base to complete a game-ending double play in his major league debut, a 2-1 Dodgers win over the Padres.

"Storybook"
-- Dodgers manager Don Mattingly

"I'm going to do little things on the field to help the team even when I'm not hitting."
-- Yasiel Puig

"He's an energetic guy, eager to get on the field, loves the game and always has a smile on his face. We all know he's got a great arm."
-- Dodgers 1B Adrian Gonzalez



June 4, 2013 | THE ENCORE

The next night, the 22-year-old Cuban sensation belts a pair of home runs, gets a pair of curtain calls and drives in five runs in the Dodgers' 9-7 victory.

Don Mattingly
Mattingly

"Not bad, huh? He's pretty good. Those were two impressive home runs there. We see a little bit of just everything this guy can do. Power both ways. He's fun to watch."
-- Mattingly to MLB.com

"Obviously, he's gifted. But there's an aggression to the way he goes about playing baseball. Certainly, the results are attractive, but I like the mind frame. He's up there with an intent to do damage."
-- Dodgers pitcher Ted Lilly



June 6, 2013 | THE GRAND SLAM

Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

Another first for Puig: a grand slam, in only his fourth career game, a 5-0 Dodgers win against the visiting Braves.

"It's just infectious the way he plays. Seems like there's a joy in his game. It's the way you're supposed to play. He just looks so fresh. That's what gives our guys so much energy."
-- Mattingly

"He's really going out there and playing like he belongs up here."
-- Braves starter Tim Hudson



June 11 & 14, 2013 | THE BRAWL AND SUSPENSIONS

Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports

Puig takes a fastball to the face in the first of two bench-clearing incidents June 11 against the Diamondbacks. Three days later, Arizona's Eric Hinske tries to pin some of the blame on Puig, who draws a fine but avoids suspension.

"I've been a model citizen in this league for 12 years. And then there's Puig, who's been in the league for 12 days and he gets no games. So you tell me what's right."
-- Diamondbacks 1B Eric Hinske



July 3, 2013 | THE AWARDS

With a major league-best .436 batting average, seven home runs and 19 runs scored in 26 games in June, Puig earns NL Player of the Month and NL Rookie of the Month honors.

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