Kemp, in fact, impressed Mattingly so much with his natural play in right field Monday night that Mattingly said he is considering trying Puig in center field.
The reason center field is an issue is that Mattingly took that job from Kemp, who hasn't regained his center-field form after ankle and shoulder injuries. Mattingly has started Puig in center on rare occasions, but hasn't been at ease with it, opting more for Andre Ethier or Scott Van Slyke.
"Pretty much because he's out of control most of the time," Mattingly said of Puig's unbridled aggressiveness. "I don't mean that in a bad way. But for a tweener that both guys can catch, nobody wants to get hit at full speed. You have to have communication and you have to have trust. Yasiel doesn't give up on balls and I think guys know that. Scott said [there was] one ball he could have caught, but he knew Puig wasn't going to stop."
As for Kemp, Mattingly said he wasn't completely surprised that the outfielder would take to right field, even after a five-year absence from the position at which he broke in.
"He always said he felt better in right than in left," Mattingly said. "It looked like it last night."
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.