New Dodgers infielder Erisbel Arruebarrena says he plays like pal Yasiel Puig

David Brown
Big League Stew
Erisbel Arruebarrena and his buddy, Yasiel Puig. (Dustin Nosler of Dodger Digest)

Arruebarrena and Puig

Erisbel Arruebarrena and his buddy, Yasiel Puig. (Dustin Nosler of Dodger Digest)

There is another.

Infielder Erisbel Arruebarrena advertises himself to be similar to longtime friend and new Los Angeles Dodgers teammate Yasiel Puig. He plays with lots of flair and emotion — which is "typical of Latinos,” Arruebarrena is quoted as saying by reporter Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times.

It's certainly typical of Puig, whose rollicking rookie season was celebrated and bemoaned simultaneously while he pushed the figurative envelope, or pushed buttons — depending on how you took it.

Two Puigs = twice the fun! A shortstop by trade who figures to reach the majors at some point this season, Arruebarrena reported to camp Thursday after visa snags. He recently signed a five-year, $25 million contract. Hernandez writes:

Arruebarrena and Puig have known each other since they were 9 years old. They lived near each other in the province of Cienfuegos and played for its team in the Cuban league.

“From the time we were small we played together,” Arruebarrena said.

Arruebarrena also knew Alex Guerrero from their days together on Cuba’s national team.

“You get to a new team and there are Cuban players, players you know, it’s really emotional,” he said.

Arruebarrena declined to talk about his defection from Cuba and said he hasn’t been told at what level he would play at the start of the season.

Dodgers great and coach Manny Mota dropped by during the interview and gave Arruebarrena his blessing to wear uniform No. 11 — which Mota did while becoming one of the all-time great pinch hitters.

 "Wear it with pride," Mota told him.

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David Brown edits Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at and follow him on Twitter!

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