Don Mattingly: Yasiel Puig about a week from playing games

ST. LOUIS – The Los Angeles Dodgers have been down this road before with a disappointing outcome, so they’re taking things cautiously this time, but manager Don Mattingly said he thinks outfielder Yasiel Puig will begin another minor-league rehab assignment late next week.

“I would guess it would be later than earlier [in the week],” Mattingly said. “Nobody has given me a day that he’s going to play.”

Puig took live batting practice in Arizona Saturday off rehabbing pitcher Brandon League. He also ran curves, which is one of the prerequisite for beginning a rehab assignment. Puig has been on the 15-day disabled list since April 26 with a left hamstring strain. His last rehab assignment was cut short when he felt tightness while running to first.

Puig was batting .279 with two doubles and two home runs before the injury. In his place, Andre Ethier has been hot, batting .306 with a .928 OPS. Ethier has six home runs in 144 plate appearances. He had four in 380 plate appearances last season.

Puig’s return likely would push Ethier to left field at least until the return of Carl Crawford, who remains on a slow rehab from a strained oblique muscle.