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Can Yasiel Puig stay hot in cleanup spot?

6/10/2013

LOS ANGELES -- Luis Cruz got out a roll of masking tape and measured off a 6-by-4-foot box around two corner locker stalls -- his and phenom Yasiel Puig's.

Puig got down on his hands and knees and wrote on the tape with a Sharpie a tongue-in-cheek message for the media members who have descended on Puig en masse during his meteoric first week.

"No reporters," Puig wrote in Spanish. "No interviews. Cruz doesn't want it."

So far, it seems like the Los Angeles Dodgers' hottest prospect is handling everything the major leagues can throw at him with a smile. Monday, manager Don Mattingly threw him another one, moving him from the leadoff spot, where he batted .464 with four home runs in his first week, to the cleanup spot.

It's a temporary move, Mattingly said, and Puig likely will be moved further down in the lineup by next week, when Hanley Ramirez and Matt Kemp are expected to return.

"He's possibly one of the greatest players who ever lived, so I figure he can handle the 4-hole," Mattingly joked.

Even with Puig's torrid start, the Dodgers went just 4-3 last week and scored either one or two runs in five of their seven games, so it's clear that he can't do it alone. That's why Monday's news on Kemp and Ramirez was encouraging.

Both players had MRIs, and Mattingly said the tests showed no new damage to either player's hamstring. Kemp has been on the disabled list for a week and Ramirez hasn't started since June 5. Kemp likely will begin a minor league rehab assignment Thursday or Friday and could rejoin the Dodgers sometime over the weekend.

Ramirez said he has been told he won't be headed back to the DL. He said his discomfort has come from some fluid buildup behind his knee.

"The hamstring is good," Ramirez said.

Here are lineups for Monday night's game with the first-place Arizona Diamondbacks:

Arizona

1. A.J. Pollock CF

2. Willie Bloomquist 2B

3. Paul Goldschmidt 1B

4. Cody Ross LF

5. Miguel Montero C

6. Martin Prado 3B

7. Gerardo Parra RF

8. Cliff Pennington SS

9. Wade Miley LHP

Dodgers

1. Nick Punto SS

2. Mark Ellis 2B

3. Adrian Gonzalez 1B

4. Yasiel Puig RF

5. Jerry Hairston Jr. LF

6. Andre Ethier CF

7. Juan Uribe 3B

8. Tim Federowicz C

9. Clayton Kershaw LHP