Mookie Betts said earlier today that his return to the Dodgers’ lineup could come as early as tomorrow, and that scenario has now come to pass. Manager Dave Roberts told J.P. Hoornstra of the Southern California News Group (Twitter links) that Betts will be activated from the 10-day injured list prior to tomorrow’s game with the Padres.
Los Angeles placed Betts on the IL on June 19 due to a cracked rib, so returning in only two weeks’ time is a sigh of relief for the player and the team following what could have been a much more serious injury. The Dodgers even acquired Trayce Thompson as a right-handed hitting platoon partner for Eddy Alvarez in the outfield, seemingly indicating that Betts could miss a significant amount of time. Even a week ago, Roberts didn’t have a timetable on Betts’ status and noted that the former AL MVP hadn’t yet begun any baseball activities.
Fortunately, once Betts did return to workouts, his progress went quite smoothly. There was some suggestion that Betts could return as a second baseman rather than as a right fielder in order to make it easier on him to throw, though Betts said today that he preferred playing the field to being a designated hitter.
Betts will in fact return as a right fielder, as Chris Taylor is now day-to-day with a left foot contusion suffered while attempting a catch during tonight’s game. X-rays were negative on Taylor’s foot, though the issue was serious enough for him to be removed from the game in the sixth inning.
The Dodgers have seemingly had a revolving door of players getting injured or healthy all season long, and yet without their first-choice lineup, L.A. is still leading the National League with a 49-28 record. Naturally, Betts has been a big part of that success, hitting .273/.349/.535 with 17 home runs over his first 275 plate appearances. Even with two missed weeks on the IL, Betts’ 3.3 fWAR still ranks him 12th among all hitters in baseball this season.