ST. LOUIS — It's actually called a bunker rake, and Yasiel Puig has taken to it. The Los Angeles Dodgers held a workout at Busch Stadium on Thursday evening, a brief outing to bridge the time between series in the NL playoffs. They basically do the same activities teams do before games — stretching, playing catch, taking batting practice, spitting — and then leave without actually playing a game. Kind of boring.
Like any other sensible person, Puig probably wishes he were playing Game 1 of the NLCS against the St. Louis Cardinals already, or at home playing video games. To pass the time before Dodgers hitters run sprints as a group, Puig has hopped aboard a Toro Sand Pro 5040 and is having a conversation with Dodgers team photographer Jon SooHoo — who takes much better pictures of Puig sitting on the tractor than I could.
Aided by Puig's English/Spanish translator, Roman Barinas, (who also happens to be the Dodgers manager of international scouting), Puig and SooHoo talk about ... well, it's hard to say. I'm not standing close enough to eavesdrop. But Puig's definitely smitten with the tractor, pretending to shift the gears and pull the levers. Don't break it, Yasiel!
"¡Mas Rapido!" (Faster!) Puig says in Spanish, like a kid playing with a toy car. "Beep-beep!" he says, tapping the steering wheel, as if it had a horn. It's only a matter of time before Puig is dragging the infield dirt himself. Just give him a few more minutes to learn how to work the controls.
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Soon, it was time to run and Puig was off. Not long after, a Cardinals groundskeeper came by, sat down and turned the ignition in order to drive it away. I wanted to tell him something like, "You know, Puig sat there." I should have. That phrase might become the "Washington slept here" for the new millennium.