The Los Angeles Dodgers welcomed back Corey Seager to the lineup on Monday night but they were without Mookie Betts in the series opener against the San Diego Padres.
Betts suffered a minor injury to his left middle finger that caused him to be removed from Sunday’s win against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Swelling was cause for concern, though X-rays came back negative.
Nevertheless, it remained enough to keep Betts on the bench. “Mookie is day-to-day. There’s still substantial swelling in that left middle finger,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said before the series opener. “For him, probably unavailable [Monday] and we’ll see how he responds to treatment for [Tuesday’s] game.”
Betts dealt with a wrist issue during Summer Camp, although Roberts explained that is separate from the current injury. “It’s not the same thing. In the Summer Camp, that swing on a pitch that was up as well, it was his wrist,” Roberts said.
“There’s been nothing made of that since. Two separate incidents, and he’s never had either before.”
While that is positive news, Roberts isn’t exactly sure how Betts injured his finger. “He just said it was a normal swing, an aggressive swing on a pitch that was up in the zone,” Roberts said. “He just felt that it kind of stung his finger a little bit and it started to swell.”
Given the nature of a 60-game season, the Dodgers can’t afford to be without Betts for a long period of time. Although Betts did not appear in Monday’s game, he in some sense was considered available.
“Yeah, there’s a possibility I might use him on defense,” Roberts said. “Maybe it’s a situation where the game dictates there’s a couple innings of defense, his spot would’ve already passed. Something like that potentially.”
Following the Dodgers’ loss, Roberts said Betts participated in a hitting drill but only with using his right arm.
Not willing to risk re-injury with Betts
One luxury the Dodgers have is that they are one of the deepest teams in the league, so even when a player of Betts’ caliber is out of the lineup, there isn’t a huge drop off.
Because of that, Roberts plans on being extra cautious to avoid re-injury. “I think we do a good job of for the most part erring on the side of caution,” he said.
“I would say that we tend to do that as well in a shortened season, because the one thing you don’t want is to be aggressive, and if there is a risk of further damaging whatever injury it might be for a particular player, it’ll be more magnified. You just don’t have that margin to come back too soon.”
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events and more!