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Dodgers Might Have a New Leadoff Hitter After Mookie Betts Injury

During Sunday’s 3-0 victory over the Kansas City Royals, Mookie Betts suffered a fractured left hand. A fastball from Dan Altabilla hit him in the hand, although the injury will not require surgery. Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said there is no timetable for return, although the absence will be for “some time”. However, the Dodgers could turn to the reigning American League MVP. Roberts told reporters his “initial thought” is to move up Shohei Ohtani in the leadoff spot while Betts is out.

“It’s a big blow. I feel bad for Mookie because he’s having an MVP-type season,” Roberts told reports Sunday.

“Honestly we’ve gone through this so much and teams go through this all the time. That’s part of baseball. You’ve got to move forward and guys know there are going to get opportunities and have to play well.”

Betts, Ohtani and Freddie Freeman have been in the top three of the Dodgers lineup all season.

Shohei Ohtani Could Bat Leadoff for the Dodgers

Losing Betts is one thing but turning to Ohtani is a great alternative for Los Angeles. Ohtani is hitting a robust .305/.377/.571 with 17 home runs, 44 RBI and 15 stolen bases. He brings speed power and the ability to get on base on a consistent basis. It’s a big reason why the Dodgers have been so successful this season. However, Bett’s also underlines the club’s somewhat top-heavy nature. Betts, Ohtani, Freeman, Will Smith and Teoscar Hernández have all been raking and Max Muncy was hitting well pre-injury.

Gavin Lux, Kiké Hernández and Chris Taylor have been cold at the plate, whereas James Outman‘s struggles were enough for the Dodgers to option him to Triple-A Oklahoma City.

With a 44-29 record, the Dodgers have arguably built up enough of a cushion to withstand losing Betts for some time. But it can’t be ignored that the Dodgers are now without Betts, Muncy, Yoshinobu Yamamoto and Michael Grove.

Los Angeles Will Look to Add a Shortstop

Regardless of how much time Betts misses, it remains to be if the Dodgers will look to make a trade sooner rather than later. In the meantime, Roberts said that Miguel Vargas has been called back up from Triple-A to rejoin the infield mix. Miguel Rojas will get the bulk of regular shortstop dut, with Hernandez also factoring in at both shortstop and third base. Cavan Biggio was acquired from the Toronto Blue Jays to add to the depth mix. Betts’ absence will open up more playing for Biggio at second or third base.

Main Photo: © Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports


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