Former MLB star Yasiel Puig speaks out after involvement in Venezuelan league brawl

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Once upon a time, Yasiel Puig looked like one of the most exciting young stars in MLB. That was, however, but a fleeting moment as he fell out of favor with the Los Angeles Dodgers, where he spent his first six major-league seasons, and ended up playing just one more season in MLB in 2019 (he's most recently played in Mexico, the KBO, and Dominican Republic.

That 2019 season, however, was perhaps most (in)famous for Puig's ability to throw hands, not so much anything he did at the plate or in the field. Then a member of the Cincinnati Reds -- he was traded to Cleveland almost simultaneously with the brawl -- Puig got heavily involved in a July 30, 2019 brawl between the Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates.

It was a wild scene then, and one that anyone who saw Puig's latest exploit in the Venezuelan Winter League had to remember immediately.

During a game on Thursday night in Venezuela, Puig was at the center of a massive brawl on the field that bled up against the fences behind home plate and, in truth, seemed to be getting entirely out of hand.

Yasiel Puig speaks out after massive Venezuelan league brawl

While Puig ended up at the center of the huge altercation, though, some on-hand reports indicated that the outfielder was "sucker-punched" while trying to stay out of it, which then led to his involvement.

That's what Puig also contended as a released a lengthy statement regarding the brawl on X/Twitter, maintaining that he was trying to de-escalate the situation and that the situation is being painted in an unnecessarily negative light:

"I no know what to do anymore- I do nothing, I keep everyone calm and from nowhere I get hit in head. But my agent shows all videos and yet I see now what they show back in USA somehow is me starting fight which is not true. I play today, i no get punished because I do nothing wrong. No man. Enough. I can’t anymore. Please stop. I not this guy you want me to be. Pick someone else already you have destroy me enough. I bat over .400, hit a homerun every 9 at bat and I is taking my team to 1st championship in 37 years. But yeah, Puig trending for a fight."

It is undoubtedly true that Puig's antics in his MLB career have cast him in a largely negative light in terms of how he's often portrayed in the media. And to his point, he has been hitting extremely well in the leagues he's played in as of late. Having said that, the brawl in Venezuela did look quite out-of-hand and he was at the center of it -- how that came to pass is relevant, but only part of the equation.

Regardless, we'll have to see what's next for the 33-year-old. Perhaps an MLB team can get past his involvement in these types of situations -- fair or unfair for that to be considered -- and see if he can still provide some help at the plate at a major-league level. If his own words are to be considered, he seems to believe that's still something he's capable of.