{}
CLOSE

Now Commenting On:

Dodgers wary of wearing down Punto

|
Dodgers wary of wearing down Punto play video for Dodgers wary of wearing down Punto

LOS ANGELES -- Nick Punto's production has kept him in the lineup, despite concerns from Dodgers manager Don Mattingly that the veteran utility man could wear down too early in the season.

Punto has played more than 88 games in a season only once since 2009, when he appeared in 125 games with the Twins. He made his 26th start in 47 games on Saturday against the Cardinals, one of his former clubs.

The Dodgers did not anticipate using Punto this frequently coming out of Spring Training. But injuries to infielders Hanley Ramirez, Mark Ellis and Jerry Hairston have forced Mattingly to use Punto more than he'd like.

"Injuries have kind of given him more opportunities than we thought he would be able to get," Mattingly said Saturday afternoon. "He's playing more than he might need to, and I am worried about wearing him down."

Punto hasn't shown signs of wearing down yet, though. He entered Saturday's game hitting .323 with 10 RBIs and 12 runs scored.

Ideally, Mattingly said he wants Punto to share time at shortstop with Dee Gordon and at third base with Juan Uribe.

"I want to keep Nick healthy," Mattingly said. "He's playing so good. He's given us so much energy. He's really been hard to keep out of the lineup."

Hairston could be activated from the disabled list as early as Sunday, which would allow Mattingly to find more rest for Punto, if needed.

Austin Laymance is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

{}
{}
Boys and Girls Club of America

©2014 MLBAM, LP. All rights reserved.

The following are trademarks or service marks of Major League Baseball entities and may be used only with permission of Major League Baseball Properties, Inc. or the relevant Major League Baseball entity: Major League, Major League Baseball, MLB, the silhouetted batter logo, World Series, National League, American League, Division Series, League Championship Series, All-Star Game, and the names, nicknames, logos, uniform designs, color combinations, and slogans designating the Major League Baseball clubs and entities, and their respective mascots, events and exhibitions. Use of the Website signifies your agreement to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy (updated May 24, 2013).

View MLB.com in English | En Español