Thanks to interleague play, Yasiel Puig, the hottest baseball player in the world, will be at Yankee Stadium for Wednesday's split doubleheader with the Dodgers. The 22-year-old Cuban defector comes in hitting .479 with four homers and 10 RBIs in 13 games.
Speaking through an interpreter for the English-language portion of New York's media before Tuesday night's rainout, Puig said he was excited to visit the Stadium and has been a fan of Yankees such as Derek Jeter, Ichiro Suzuki and Robinson Cano, among others.
He downplayed the ease of his jump from Double-A Chattanooga to the majors, saying, "Thank you, God, that everything is going good."
Puig isn't the only Cuban in major-league baseball, but he's been the most spectacular. Asked for the reaction in his homeland and his thoughts on whether he might bring about a more open process for his countrymen to play in the U.S., Puig lit up.
"When he lives in Cuba, he follows the other Cuban players," his interpreter said. "He knows many people follow him. He hopes someday Cuba will be open and the Cuban players will come here and play in the best baseball league in the world."
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly had an outfield of veterans and no room to give Puig at-bats after he hit .517 in spring training. Injuries changed that.
"The transition does seem seamless because he's had so much success," Mattingly said. "Since he came up, he's doing exactly the same thing he did in spring training: hitting for power, hitting for average and making big plays."