Roberts eager for first sitdown with Puig

Roberts eager for first sitdown with Puig

PASADENA, Calif. -- In two months as manager of the Dodgers, Dave Roberts has made an effort to touch base with all of his new players, but he's still looking forward to his first sitdown with Yasiel Puig.

Roberts and Puig planned to meet two weeks ago, but Roberts revealed Tuesday that the meeting never happened because of a last-minute conflict on his end.

With both men in town for this week's "Love L.A." Community Tour, presented by Bank of America, Roberts hopes he finally has a chance to meet with the 25-year-old outfielder.

Check out photos from the 'Love L.A.' Community Tour

"We're still working on the complete connection," Roberts said after a Q&A session with students at John Muir High School. "But I do know that he's getting prepared and he's in good shape."

Roberts said it's his understanding that Puig has lost some weight this winter and is in better shape than he was last season.

"He's been showing up at all his workouts," said Roberts, who would prefer Puig to weigh somewhere between 235-240 pounds. "He looks great. Again, I'm looking forward to meeting him."

While Roberts is aware of Puig's enigmatic reputation, he comes to the Dodgers with a clean slate and has said he won't prejudge or coddle Puig.

"If he's good, then it gives us a much better chance to be good as well," Roberts said.

Also looking forward to meeting with Puig is former Dodgers infielder Maury Wills, who is expected to work with him once Spring Training begins next month.

Roberts said he expects Wills, 83, to be in big league camp every day and welcomes former Dodgers greats like Sandy Koufax and Steve Yeager to visit as well.

"I think, for me, a culture that I'm trying to continue is respecting the people that have come before us," Roberts said. "I think the more of the former Dodgers that are around to help and give a little nudge to the current players is a good thing."

Roberts said he's touched base with most of his new players and speaks to some quite often. There are still more relationships to be built, though.

"I think to get to really know somebody you've got to put in the time and get face to face," Roberts said, "but I think a foundation is on its way."

Austin Laymance is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.