Arizona Diamondbacks catcher Miguel Montero is concerned for Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig and the reputation he is building throughout baseball.
“If he’s my teammate, I’d probably try to help him, teach him how to behave in the big leagues,” the catcher said.
Montero’s issue is with the way Puig is playing the game, with an apparent attitude that borders between cocky and arrogant.
Montero’s battery mate, Ian Kennedy, said after Tuesday’s game that the Cuban phenom exhibits the latter trait.
“It’s so frustrating because the talent that he has, he could be one of the greatest players to play the game,” he said. “But right now I’m not going to say he’s the best because he hasn’t proven anything yet.”
Puig, 22, is hitting .394 with eight home runs and 19 RBI in just 141 at bats. So indeed, he really has not proven much, though there is no doubt his fast start and quick ascension to the spotlight is rubbing some the wrong way.
But talented or not, Montero feels like Puig needs to learn how to carry himself as a Major Leaguer.
“He’s got so much talent, it would be really bad if he wasted it just doing stupid things that he’s doing,” he said. “You’ve got to respect to get respect, if you don’t respect anybody you’re not going to earn it.”
Montero’s manager, Kirk Gibson, expressed little bitterness over Puig’s style. Saying “He is kicking everyone’s ass so people are jealous of him,” the skipper noted that Puig is still new to the Major League game so it is understandable if he’s not quite sure of its traditions and customs.
But as Montero said, at some point things won’t be all rosy for Puig and he’ll have to be able to deal with it.
“He’s going to have bad moments out there and then he’s going to realize he needs to change,” he said. “And then he’s going to realize, ‘OK you know what, I need to calm down, I need to do things differently.'”
Montero’s fear is Puig will rub the wrong person the wrong way and, well, it could get real ugly.
“I don’t want him to go out there and somebody hit him in the hand or hit him in the head and done, his career’s over,” he said, “because he’s a young guy and he needs to learn.”