Mookie Betts won’t be in his usual right-field corner when the Dodgers play the Diamondbacks on Thursday night
Mookie Betts is in his familiar spot atop the Los Angeles Dodgers batting order for tonight’s game against the Arizona Diamondbacks. What’s not so familiar is the position he’ll be playing.
Manager Dave Roberts confirmed on Thursday that Betts will play second base for the Dodgers in a sort of test run for the postseason. The move came at Betts’ suggestion, in case “things got crazy” in the postseason. “Felt this was a good opportunity for him to log some innings…Just gathering some information,” Roberts said, according to Bill Plunkett of the OC Register.
Betts is a four-time Gold Glove-winning right fielder who leads all players at the position in Defensive Runs Saved and Ultimate Zone Rating this season. Of his 41 games in 2020, 37 of them have come in right field. But that’s not where he started his career.
Believe it or not, Mookie Betts has experience in the infield
Betts was drafted and came through the Boston Red Sox organization as a middle infielder. He appeared in 243 games at second base in the minors and started 14 games there in his rookie season in 2014. His only experience at the position since, though, is six innings of a game against the Yankees on Aug. 3, 2018.
Roberts might be thinking back to the 18-inning thriller against Betts and the Red Sox in the 2018 World Series when the Dodgers were forced to empty their bench. The Dodgers roster is full of players capable of playing multiple positions; Roberts has only used the same defensive lineup in six of their 41 games so far this season. Max Muncy, Cody Bellinger, A.J. Pollock, and Chris Taylor have each played at least 10 games at two different positions, while Kike Hernandez has appeared at five spots around the field.
In his first season with the Dodgers, Betts is hitting .307 with 14 home runs and 33 RBI. He’s currently on a 10-game hitting streak, batting .366 with three homers and an OPS of 1.059 since Aug. 28.
Rookie Gavin Lux has taken over second base duties for the Dodgers. He’s started there 10 of the last 12 games. He’s hitting just .189, although he did hit his first two home runs of the season on Tuesday. Muncy, Taylor, and Hernandez have also started games for the Dodgers at second base this season.