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Puig's team-leading walk total a sign of growth

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PHOENIX -- Coming into Friday night's game against the D-backs, Yasiel Puig led the Dodgers in walks with 19. No joke.

"Never thought we'd see that," said manager Don Mattingly.

He also led the Dodgers in RBIs (31), batting average (.324), total bases (78) and slugging percentage (.561).

"He's forcing team to throw him strikes," Mattingly said. "He understands that walks are important."

This is why Mattingly the other night said that Puig is "growing up right before our eyes."

"He's maturing in a lot of areas," said Mattingly. "Even though there's a bit of hiccups on the bases and defense, we're seeing a guy get better and better. He's not chasing. It's a big step."

Mattingly repeated that he feels Puig's competition with Adrian Gonzalez for most times reaching base each series has helped change Puig's hitting approach and made him more accepting of the walk in a team concept.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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