The Los Angeles Dodgers announced a historic 12-year contract extension with Mookie Betts on the eve of Opening Day, locking up one of the best players in all of baseball for the foreseeable future.
The 27-year-old had just one hit in five at-bats against the San Francisco Giants the following day and it was a difficult three-game series for Betts, as he recorded only two singles in 16 at-bats.
However, he looked more like his usual self in the following two-game matchup against the Houston Astros, going 3-for-10 with two doubles and two RBI. Betts followed up that performance with his first three-hit game of the season against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Even with a sore middle finger causing a brief stretch of missed games, Betts has continued that success. “I think I was just searching, trying to find the right mechanics for my swing,” he recently said.
“It’s kind of tough. With everything going, it’s hard to get enough work in. Fortunately I was able to get some good work in today and put together a good game.”
Betts attributed his early struggles to not being able to work on his swing as much as he would like due to limitations brought on by MLB’s health and safety protocols. “That’s the rough part that people don’t see,” he said.
“But we’ve got to find a way. It’s like that for everybody, so it’s not an excuse. Just have to find a way to get it done.”
Having recently signed the largest contract in franchise history, Betts refuted the notion he was trying to make too big of an impression on his new teammates. “No. That’s not in my brain at all,” he said.
“I just wasn’t mechanically sound, and trying to search in a game is not the best way to go about playing. You have to just focus on the game and work on mechanics later.”
Betts is batting a solid .281/.339/.596 with six doubles, four home runs and 10 RBI across 57 at-bats. He’s tied with Max Muncy and AJ Pollock for the team lead in home runs.
Betts unable to explain finger injury
After being held out of the series opener entirely, Betts appeared in each of the next two games at Petco Park as a defensive replacement. He returned to the lineup over the weekend but could not provide many details on the sore finger that gave him trouble.
“I don’t exactly know what happened. It was just a weird swing and somehow it jammed my finger. That was the first time that’s ever happened,” Betts said last Friday.
“There was just a lot of swelling and I couldn’t really hold a bat. The training staff did an amazing job getting the swelling out of there and getting my back on the field.”
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