Dodgers News: Mookie Betts Working With Yoshinobu Yamamoto’s Trainer

Mookie Betts is an accomplished All-Star with an array of awards and accolades to his name, including World Series titles with the Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers.

And even with having seven All-Star Game selections, an MVP Award, six Gold Gloves and six Silver Slugger Awards, Betts is embracing a position change for the 2024 season. He technically has done so twice, with an initial plan of playing second base giving way to becoming the new Dodgers shortstop.

The 31-year-old possesses one of the great baseball minds in the league, a skillset that also includes learning from players around him.

When the Dodgers signed Yoshinobu Yamamoto, along came his unique training style, which Betts has taken to by working with Osamu Yada as well, per Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times:

“I don’t necessarily know what I’m doing — I’m just kind of doing it, and I feel good, so we’ll see,” Betts, 31, said. “The whole thing is interesting. You’re never too old to learn. You’re never too good to learn.

“He’s won, what, three most valuable player awards and three Cy Youngs [in Japan]? I mean, he’s all-world, so why would you not at least be open-minded to it? I’ve got nine years [left on my contract]. I’m gonna make it the best nine years that I can.”

Entering his 11th MLB, Betts explained his work with Yamamoto’s trainer, affectionately called Yada Sensei, is more about overall wellness than looking for a specific benefit or change:

“It’s not like I’m hitting 460-foot homers now, and if I start working out [differently], I may add what, two feet [of distance]?” Betts said. “It’s more important to stay healthy and be the best Mook for these next nine years, or however long I’ve got.”

While Betts took to learning from Yamamoto’s trainer, it has not entailed picking up the pitcher’s javelin throwing program.

Signed through the 2032 season, Betts figures to be a key part of the Dodgers for many years alongside Shohei Ohtani and Freddie Freeman.

Betts finished in second place for the 2023 National League MVP Award, which was won by Atlanta Braves’ Ronald Acuña Jr. behind his record-setting season.

How will playing shortstop impact Mookie Betts?

When slotting in as a second baseman last year, Betts posted a 171 wRC+ with 14 home runs, 43 RBI and 48 runs scored. The toll on his body is certainly lessened and Dodgers manager Dave Roberts also believed that coincided with a refined focus.

Playing shortstop figures to be more demanding on Betts, but it’s a position he’s long enjoyed and there is reason to believe strong offensive production will continue.

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