9:56 AM PT -- Yasiel Puig and his agent are addressing the brawl ... insisting he was trying to play peacemaker in the scuffle, and only defended himself when he was hit in the face.
Ex-MLB star Yasiel Puig found himself in the middle of a bench-clearing brawl during a professional baseball game in Venezuela this week ... throwing punches and getting hit as both sides duked it out.
The chaos broke out during Game 2 of the Venezuelan Professional Baseball League's championship series at University of Caracas Stadium on Wednesday ... when Puig's Tiburones de La Guaira teammate Maikel Garcia knocked a two-run dinger in the bottom of the 8th inning to put their team up 10-8 over Cardenales de Lara.
As Garcia rounded the bases, he appeared to hot dog in front of the opposing team's bench ... running his mouth and slowly trotting before reaching home.
Naturally, the Cardenales players took issue with the showboating ... and one player started clapping back at Garcia.
The heated confrontation led both squads to leave their dugouts ... and a scrap broke out.
Puig -- who played in the MLB for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland from 2013-19 -- ended up right in the middle of the violent altercation ... throwing hands and getting hit in the process.
After a few minutes, the action died down ... and both teams made it back to their dugouts.
Surprisingly, no one was ejected for the impromptu fight ... and Puig's team held on to win the contest, 12-10.
Fun fact -- another MLB star was supposed to be on the field ... as Braves outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. was playing for La Guaira prior to the tournament, but has been sitting out recently to prepare for the 2024 season.
Puig hasn't played in the Majors for a few years ... and in November 2022, was accused of lying to officials about betting in an illegal gambling case, but denied any wrongdoing.