For someone who plays with minimal restraint and is loud when in the company of his teammates, Yasiel Puig is a surprisingly careful public speaker.
Even in his native Spanish, Puig reveals little, frequently falling back on cliches. The 22-year-old from Cuba was that way when he was called up to the major leagues in June and was that way in a pregame news conference Monday.
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When asked about the difference between the playoffs and regular season, Puig said that in the playoffs, opposing pitchers give their best.
When reflecting on his rookie season, Puig said, "I've always given my best."
He thanked his teammates for helping him along, adding, "That's why I always try to give my best."
Told he looked as if he was injured the day before, Puig said, "I'm in condition to give my best."
The only time Puig diverted from the script was when he made a considerable effort to put a positive spin on Hyun-Jin Ryu's disastrous start in Game 3. Ryu pitched only three innings and was charged with four runs.
"He helped us win by not giving up even more runs," Puig said. "He drove in a run too."
Ellis back in the lineup
A.J. Ellis was back in the Dodgers' lineup Monday for the National League division series, a day after he was struck on the left elbow by a 96 mph fastball. X-rays on Ellis' elbow were negative.
Manager Don Mattingly said he expects Ellis to be in the lineup for every game this postseason.
"I'm with A.J. pretty much," Mattingly said. "I think at this time of year, you have to catch the guy that gives you the best chance."
Ellis batted .500 with two doubles, two runs batted in and a run scored in the Dodgers' first three playoff games. He had an on-base percentage of .636.
But Ellis' defense is why Mattingly insists on starting him every game.
"A.J. runs the pitching staff," Mattingly said. "There's a confidence these guys have in what he puts down. He's not guessing. There's a plan to whatever we're doing."
Backup catcher Tim Federowicz played in 56 games in the regular season, which allowed Ellis to take more days off than he did last year.
"He was there to keep A.J. fresh," Mattingly said of Federowicz.
Ellis played in 115 regular-season games, down from 133 games last season. He caught 9721/3 innings, 178 2/3 fewer than he did in 2012.
Vin Scully is recording a limited number of custom-made messages to raise money for Autism Speaks. For information, visit soundoff.autismspeaks.org. … Former Dodgers Steve Garvey, Eric Karros and Steve Yeager participated in a pregame ceremony. Instead of a ceremonial first pitch, they took part in a ceremonial relay to home. … President Stan Kasten said the Dodgers have no plans to sell standing-room tickets should they advance in the playoffs. The Dodgers have "the capability and the facilities" to sell standing-room only tickets if they wanted to, according to Kasten. The renovations at Dodger Stadium last winter included the removal of two to four rows in seating areas, accompanied by the addition of concourse railings where fans can stand and watch the game.
Times staff writer Bill Shaikin contributed to this report.