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Dodgers' Yasiel Puig wants to be LeBron James of baseball

Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig said he wants to be baseball's equivalent of LeBron James and Kobe Bryant. Puig, 24, reported to spring training last week with pitchers and catchers ahead of his third season in the majors.
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Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig said he wants to be baseball's equivalent of LeBron James and Kobe Bryant, Dylan Hernandez of The Los Angeles Times reports.

Puig, 24, reported to spring training last week with pitchers and catchers ahead of his third season in the majors. He made his first All-Star Game last season and batted .296 with 16 home runs and 69 RBIs.

He said he wants to step into the role of baseball's signature star this season after New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter retired following last season.

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Puig said he would like to be to baseball what Kobe Bryant and LeBron James are to basketball.

"I want to be like them one day," he said in Spanish.

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​Puig was benched for Game 4 of the NLDS last season against the St. Louis Cardinals after striking out seven times across Games 3 and 4.

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Dodgers hitting coach Mark McGwire said he was impressed by Puig's commitment to the new season and views him as an MVP candidate.

The Dodgers open the regular season on Monday, April 6, against the San Diego Padres.

- Paul Palladino