April nineteenth, 2023
LOS ANGELES — The Dodgers positioned Mookie Betts on the paternity listing earlier than Tuesday’s recreation towards the Mets because the star outfielder and his spouse, Brianna, welcomed their second little one early Tuesday morning.
Though a paternity listing stint might be prolonged for as much as three days, Betts isn’t anticipated to be away from the crew for lengthy. In actual fact, Dodgers supervisor Dave Roberts expects him again within the lineup for Wednesday’s finale towards the Mets, the MLB.TV Free Game of the Day.
When Betts returns to the crew on Wednesday, the 30-year-old gained’t be taking part in proper discipline, a place the place he has gained six Gold Glove Awards in his embellished profession. As an alternative, Betts might be beginning at shortstop for the primary time in his Main League profession.
“There’s an opportunity I’d slide him over to shortstop,” Roberts stated with a smile. “He seems extraordinarily pure. The man can play anyplace on a baseball discipline.”
Betts, after all, got here up as a second baseman by the Purple Sox’s Minor League system. He was pressured to choose up proper discipline with a purpose to velocity up the method of getting him to the Majors. Since then, Betts has turn into among the finest defensive proper fielders in baseball, taking dwelling his most up-to-date Gold Glove Award on the place final season.
However regardless of his pure ability within the outfield, the infield has at all times been Betts’ true ardour. He’s getting extra taking part in time at second base this season. Roberts stated Betts “has been clamoring” for a number of years for the Dodgers to let him play shortstop, the place he performed rising up.
“I feel there have been some reservations about him taking part in second base final yr and he shortly put these to mattress,” Roberts stated. “So it’s going to be the identical factor.”
Sliding Betts over to shortstop is a enjoyable growth, nevertheless it additionally comes out of necessity for a struggling Dodgers crew that got here into Tuesday’s recreation with a sub-.500 document after 17 video games for the primary time for the reason that 2018 season.
With Miguel Rojas struggling on the plate and Chris Taylor battling a left aspect harm that can sideline him for no less than a number of days, the Dodgers wanted to discover their choices. That’s when Roberts known as Betts on Tuesday morning and instructed him the plan of getting him into the sport at shortstop. Betts, whose third-favorite place seems to be proper discipline, was ecstatically on board with the choice.
“I feel if you’re speaking in regards to the third string at any place, there’s some issues that must occur that you simply simply bought to type of get by,” Roberts stated. “However to have Mookie as your third string at something, I feel groups might be doing so much worse.”
Although Betts takes grounders at shortstop earlier than practically each recreation, it’ll be fascinating to see how he fares taking part in one of the crucial demanding positions on the diamond. Betts hasn’t began knowledgeable recreation at shortstop since 2012 when he was in Low-A with the Purple Sox.
Wednesday can be Betts’ 1,131st Main League recreation. Based on the Elias Sports activities Bureau, that’s the fifth-most profession video games performed by anybody earlier than their first MLB begin at shortstop, inside the previous 30 years. Over that interval, Betts trails solely Russell Martin (who set the Trendy Period document at 1,714 video games for the 2018 Blue Jays), Eric Younger (1,573 video games for the 2004 Rangers), Jeff Cirillo (1,465 video games for the 2006 Brewers) and Kelly Johnson (1,339 video games for the 2015 Mets).
It may be a one-game factor for Betts. He’ll nonetheless be the crew’s major proper fielder. However how a lot he performs shortstop and second base will in the end be decided by how shortly Taylor recovers from his harm. If Taylor is sidelined for an prolonged time period, Betts will get much more seems within the infield.
“He’s been clamoring for fairly a while, so we’ll see the way it performs out,” Roberts stated.