The Los Angeles Dodgers have played without one or both of their MVP outfielders over the past week as Cody Bellinger and Mookie Betts each dealt with a minor issue.
Bellinger missed two games because of a knot in his back and upon returning, hit his first home run of the Spring Training. He was scratched from Sunday’s lineup but because of a mix up, not a health-related issue.
Meanwhile, Betts was taken out of Friday’s lineup because of an upset stomach. That was since determined to be caused by food poisoning.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts indicated Betts would be out until Wednesday, then said he had recovered enough to likely play Monday. However, after the Dodgers’ loss to the Texas Rangers, Roberts again pointed to Wednesday as a target date, as seen on SportsNet LA:
“Mookie had a little stomach virus or food poisoning. Talked to him today, he said he feels better, broke a sweat and figured some things out with his swing. I think the plan is for him to be in there Wednesday.”
Just as Roberts indicated, Betts was not in the lineup for Monday’s road game with the San Diego Padres. The Dodgers have a scheduled off day Tuesday, thus it’s possible Betts is only missing one more game.
He has appeared in seven Cactus League games thus far and gone 5-for-19 with one double, one RBI and one walk. He’s started in right field and batted leadoff in each; both are spots the 2018 American League MVP made it clear he is most comfortable in, and specifically with the consistency of knowing where he will be on a daily basis.
Betts’ impact has also been felt in the clubhouse, where he’s brought a welcomed edge. Betts addressed the team on the first day the full squad was in camp, which resonated with Justin Turner.
“To come in, first day, get in front of the team and kind of challenge everybody, I think kind of surprised a lot of guys,” Turner said. “I think we love that we have that in our clubhouse.
“He’s a guy that has the résumé, has the accolades, the pedigree, that when he speaks, guys are going to listen. Guys are going to be curious, guys are going to learn a little bit more.
“It makes it easier when you say stuff like that but you hold yourself to the same accountability. It makes it easier to stand up and preach to a team when you practice and play the way that you talk about. It was good.”
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