Dave Roberts: Mookie Betts ‘Considerably More Comfortable’ Batting Leadoff In Dodgers Lineup

After having his 2022 Spring Training debut delayed twice because of a stomach bug, Mookie Betts got into the Los Angeles Dodgers lineup for five Cactus League games and again in the opener of the exhibition Freeway Series.

Betts has been in his usual leadoff spot, which didn’t necessarily appear to be a guarantee after the Dodgers signed Freddie Freeman.

Since joining the Dodgers, Betts has batted lead off in 176 of 199 starts between the regular season and postseason. He hit first 104 times last season, and also batted in the second spot once, and in the three-hole 12 times.

Having previously confirmed Betts would remain in the leadoff spot of the Dodgers lineup, manager Dave Roberts noted it’s simply where the five-time All-Star feels most comfortable, via Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com:

“I think if you look at Trea and Mookie — which I think that they’re interchangeable as far as first, second and third [spot in order], with Freddie [Freeman] obviously mixed in there — Mookie feels considerably more comfortable in the [leadoff spot].”

While Betts received most of his opportunities as the Dodgers’ leadoff hitter last season, he was dropped down to the No. 3 spot in the lineup after the team acquired Trea Turner at the trade deadline.

Turner batted first for the Dodgers over the ensuing month, but after the offense struggled to generate consistency, Roberts switched him and Betts in the lineup.

Betts is coming off an injury-riddled season where he had lower back trouble and a bone spur in his right hip that required cortisone injections and multiple stints on the 10-day injured list. He was limited to 122 games while playing through pain and hit .264/.367/.487 with 23 home runs, a 131 wRC+ and 3.9 WAR.

Freeman and Turner following Betts in Dodgers lineup

In addition to naming Betts the Dodgers’ primary leadoff hitter, Roberts revealed Freddie Freeman and Turner will round out the top three of the lineup.

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