L.A. Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig embraces trip to Japan for upcoming MLB goodwill tour

first_img“I’m excited to go to Japan and get to know the culture,” Puig said in Spanish in what quickly became his refrain for the day.Puig used most of the last offseason to spend time with Los Angeles-area kids. He went to field dedications, invited groups of kids to Dodger Stadium to work out and even made some hospital visits.This offseason, Puig decided to take on this all-star challenge and adjust to yet another culture.MLB participants will also earn close to $100,000 per player (per sources), plus performance bonuses based on the team’s success in Japan.Puig said he was intrigued by the opportunity. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Konichiwa, Yasiel Puig-san.The so-called Wild Stallion is about to be unleashed onto Japan as part of Major League Baseball’s latest goodwill tour to the country for the Japanese All-Star Series.The exuberant Dodgers outfielder took part Friday in the first day of a two-day training session at Dodger Stadium in preparation for a five-game exhibition series against the “Samurai Japan,” Japan’s national team, that begins on Tuesday.Anyone know the Japanese translation for “bat flip?”center_img “I’d rather be here than at my house doing nothing,” Puig said in Spanish. “If they wanted me on this team, I was ready for it.” RELATED STORY: Dodgers’ front office undergoes large overhaul in short orderIt is Major League Baseball’s first goodwill all-star trip to Japan since 2006.Puig was certainly living it up with his new teammates, riffing and laughing with the likes of the Houston Astros’ Jose Altuve and the Seattle Mariners’ Robinson Cano in-between rifling screaming line drives off the empty pavilion bleachers.“I’m happy to be going with such a great team and to be playing with so many great players on this team,” Puig said in Spanish. “We started training today, and I think we are well-equipped, and we are making sure we are ready for a couple days out there.“It’s a really long flight, and we’re not just going for fun. Even though we are players from different teams, we want to play well.”Puig admitted he does not know any Japanese. He would not try to say sayonara, then had a colorful exchange with his cousin in Spanish debating the difference between Chinese rice and Japanese rice.Finally, Puig gave an exaggerated shrug and then explained he was not ready to test his Japanese.“Not today,” Puig said in English. “Maybe tomorrow. I need to practice.”The MLB roster is an eclectic group.There are certainly some big names like Altuve, Cano, Tampa Bay’s Evan Longoria (Long Beach State) and Ben Zobrist, Colorado’s Justin Morneau, Kansas City catcher Salvador Perez, and Cleveland’s Carlos Santana.The pitching staff is a bit more unheralded with Kansas City’s Jeremy Guthrie, the Angels’ Matt Shoemaker and Hisashi Iwakuma (Seattle), a native of Japan, headlining the group. Tsuyoshi Wada (Chicago Cubs), also from Japan, is among the pitchers.Puig will be joined by Dodgers teammate Drew Butera. Shoemaker’s Angels teammate, pitcher Hector Santiago, is also on the squad. Other position players include: Erik Kratz (Kansas City), Chris Carter (Houston), Lucas Duda (New York Mets), Alicides Escobar (Kansas City), Dexter Fowler (Houston), Eduardo Nunez (Minnesota), The rest of the pitchers include: Jeff Beliveau (Tampa Bay), Jerry Blevins (Washington), Chris Capuano (New York Yankees), Randy Choate (St. Louis), Tommy Hunter (Baltimore), Mark Melancon (Pittsburgh), Franklin Morales (Colorado), Jose Veras (Houston) and Rob Wooten (Milwaukee).The All-Star Series games will take place at Osaka’s Kyocera Dome, Tokyo’s Tokyo Dome and Sapporo’s Sapporo Dome. Two additional exhibition games will take place in Osaka’s Koshien Stadium and Okinawa’s Okinawa Cellular Stadium.“This is exciting. Any time you get a chance to play more baseball, it’s good,” Shoemaker said. “My wife is coming with me. And in our free time, we’re going to check out the cities and enjoy the culture and the other people and get some good food.“This probably is the best place in the world for sushi, so we’re going to have a lot of sushi.”last_img

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