Dan Schlossberg's Weekend Notebook • Latino Sports

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Dan Schlossberg’s Weekend Notebook

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Fans of the Los Angeles Dodgers must remember Fernandomania: they were ready to proclaim Rookie of the Year honors on Yasiel Puig after four games.

Puig

Yasiel Puig: the Cuban outfielder has taken L.A. by storm

The Cuban outfielder, promoted from Double-A after injury idled Matt Kemp, had a two-homer game and a grand-slam less than a week in the bigs.

Lulled by lethargy all year, Los Angeles fans see Puig as their best chance to salvage the season — not to mention the job of beleaguered manager Don Mattingly.

But four games do not a rookie trophy make.

Evan Gattis of the Atlanta Braves was National League Rookie of the Month for both April and May. Now that we’re well into June, Gattis has the best ratio of home runs per at-bats of anyone in the major leagues. Even when he doesn’t play, Gattis comes off the bench with a vengeance; he’s hit three pinch-homers already and is a strong candidate to tie the record of six in a season.

Plus the guy hits in the clutch.

The problem is that Gattis is the ideal designated hitter — which does not exist in the National League. He’s blocked by Brian McCann behind the plate, Freddie Freeman at first base, and Justin Upton in left field.

Evan Gattis has won back-to-back honors as NL Rookie of the Month

Evan Gattis has won back-to-back honors as NL Rookie of the Month

There have been games where Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez has shifted Upton to right, moved Jason Heyward to center, and played Gattis in left. The rookie has shown a strong arm but he’s not much better than Greg Luzinski in the outfield.

Sports Illustrated, among others, has recognized the rampaging rookie. They did a June 10 profile that included a photo of Gattis is a white bear suit (he had picked up the nickname Le Oso Blanco from Venezuelan Winter League fans).

Puig, meanwhile, could very well throw his hat into the running for the rookie award, along with Dominican righthander Julio Teheran, who pitched an eight-inning one-hitter against Pittsburgh a few days ago.

The offense-starved Dodgers are batting Puig first — the guy can run too — but might move him down in the order to take more advantage of his power. Andre Ethier could become the odd man out, especially as the July 31 trade deadline approaches.

Speaking of swaps, Atlanta could make room for Gattis by sending McCann across league lines to the New York Yankees. Hurting for a steady receiver since Russell Martin left as a free agent, the Yanks would welcome the steady lefthanded power McCann would provide. The short right-field wall at Yankee Stadium was made for him. Plus he can DH on days he’s not catching.

Other items of note:

There’s a logjam at first base in the National League All-Star voting. Strong candidates include Joey Votto (Reds), Paul Goldschmidt (Diamondbacks), Adrian Gonzalez (Dodgers), and Freeman . . .

Slugging Philadelphia outfielder Domonic Brown deserves to start in the All-Star Game but is not likely to win election in the unpredictable fan balloting . . .

Domonic Brown deserves to start in the All-Star Game

Domonic Brown deserves to start in the All-Star Game

Washington suffered double jeopardy when Stephen Strasburg and Brian Harper went on the disabled list at the same time. To make matters worse, Harper was seeing Dr. James Andrews about his bursitis-plagued knee, which might need surgical repair . . .

Nobody expects Cole Hamels (Phillies) to continue losing more often than winning but the reverse is true of Edwin Jackson (Cubs) . . .

Maybe the Yankees were smarter than they looked in letting Nick Swisher, Russell Martin, Raul Ibanez, and Andruw Jones explore free agency: they got three first-round draft picks in return . . .

Stanford pitcher Mark Appel, the top pick in the amateur draft, is not related to former Yankees publicist Marty Appel. But they are Facebook friends . . .

No way Mark Redmond (Marlins) is the first manager fired — Jeffrey Loria hates the idea of paying two managers at the same time. He could always bring back Jack McKeon, though, since he’s already on the payroll as a consultant . . .

Would love to see Major League Baseball recall the awards of any players suspended for steroids abuse. The haul would include a cache of Cy Young trophies and Most Valuable Player awards . . .

When Chris Davis, 27-year-old first baseman of the Baltimore Orioles, got off to a hot start this season, this columnist scoffed. But Davis has outplayed all other American League first basemen with the possible exception of Detroit’s Prince Fielder. He’ll certainly get into the All-Star Game . . .

GEE

Dillon Gee has given the Mets a shot in the arm

Matt Harvey might be getting all the acclaim lately but Dillon Gee has also given the struggling Mets a strong right arm in the rotation . . .

Houston has pulled ahead in the much-anticipated battle for mediocrity with the Miami Marlins. The floundering Fish face the real possibility of challenging the 40-120 record of the 1962 New York Mets . . .

The Marlins, Twins, Royals, Cubs, and Brewers are virtually certain to be sellers at the trade deadline. Maybe the Mets too . . .

Moving Ryan Zimmerman from third to second would help Washington’s defense. Zimmerman’s shoulder pains have prevented him from flashing his usual Gold Glove form at the hot corner this year . . .

Is there any chance that Jason Heyward, B.J. Upton, and Dan Uggla will stay under .200 for the entire season? Maybe it just seems that way.

About Dan Schlossberg

Former AP sportswriter Dan Schlossberg of Fair Lawn, NJ has produced 35 baseball books, including autobiographies of Ron Blomberg, Al Clark, and Milo Hamilton. Also a broadcaster, he is the host and executive producer of Braves Banter and Travel Itch Radio and a contributor to Sirius XM.

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