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Los Angeles Dodgers Place MVP-Candidate on Injured List

The Los Angeles Dodgers placed Mookie Betts on the Injured List

In a widely expected move, the Los Angeles Dodgers placed star Mookie Betts on the injured list prior to Monday’s matchup against the Colorado Rockies. In a corresponding move, the team called up Miguel Vargas from Triple-A.

Betts appeared in visible pain on Sunday after getting hit in the hand by a fastball from Royals reliever Dan Altavilla. Following the game, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts told reporters that Betts fractured a bone in his left hand. Roberts also said that while Betts will stay on the injured list “for some time”, it appears the Dodgers star will avoid surgery.

Los Angeles Dodgers Place Mookie Betts on the Injured List

Betts, 31, represented the front-runner for National League MVP due to his dynamic play. Entering Sunday, the star was hitting .307/.407/.493 with 10 homers, 16 doubles, and nine steals. Plus, he has impressed many throughout the league by providing exceptional defense in his first season at shortstop (4 Defensive Runs Saved in 531 1/3 innings).

On a nightly basis, the star takes great at-bats (he ranks among the leaders in Strikeout, Walk, Chase, and Whiff percentages) from the leadoff spot. His excellence at setting the table for Shohei Ohtani, Freddie Freeman, Will Smith, and Teoscar Hernández has been a perfect complement for a star-studded team.

Despite the stars, Los Angeles has not dominated like many expected partly due to the nature of its severe top-heavy lineup. With Betts set for an extended injured list stint, the lack of depth in the Dodgers lineup will only get more pronounced.

Betts Replacements

In his absence, veteran Miguel Rojas will likely receive most of the reps at shortstop. Though he’s not an everyday player at this point in his career, Rojas should provide enough stability until Betts returns or the team improves at the trade deadline.

In his career, Rojas has played great defense at shortstop while providing great clubhouse leadership. These abilities allowed him to play every day earlier in his career despite a lack of offense. In his career, Rojas is a .258/.311/.357 hitter with 49 DRS at shortstop.

That said, it seems that the veteran has responded well to a part-time role this season. In just 116 plate appearances, Rojas has hit .278/.328/.444 with a solid 122 wRC+. However, his weak quality of contact indicates regression should come, especially with increased playing time on the horizon.

The Dodgers are likely aware of the risks of overusing and exposing Rojas. So, players like Vargas and Enrique Hernandez should also factor into the shortstop mix. While Los Angeles could theoretically give Gavin Lux another look at the position, that is likely a project that will the organization will deal with after the season.

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