GLENDALE, Ariz. -- With the remaining Dodgers position players set to report Friday in advance of Saturday's first full-squad workout, Cuban defector Yasiel Puig made his first appearance in the Major League clubhouse on Thursday.
The Dodgers signed Puig to a $42 million deal last summer, a stunning splash to announce the franchise's return to the international talent market.
But unlike 25-year-old Hyun-Jin Ryu, who dominated in the Korean professional league, Puig was only 21 and hadn't played any organized ball in more than a year. Elevating the risk is that he was given a Major League roster spot, starting the clock on his options that will require him to reach the Major Leagues by 2016. MLB.com ranks Puig as the Dodgers' top prospect.
Puig, a muscular 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds, is considered a corner outfielder with light-tower power. He played only 23 games in the low Minors for the Dodgers last year and was scratched from the Arizona Fall League because of an elbow infection.
To make up for that lost opportunity, Puig was sent to the Puerto Rican Winter League, where he hit .232 with one home run in 69 at-bats. He said his arm is healed and he's eager to see how his game plays against the top level of competition.
"That's what Spring Training is for, for me to figure that out," Puig said.