With the 2023 World Baseball Classic coming to a close, Mookie Betts and Will Smith are back in Los Angeles Dodgers camp for the final days of Spring Training.
Betts appeared in seven games for Team USA and hit .313/.324/.344 with one double and one RBI across 32 at-bats. He enjoyed getting to play in the international tournament and now will look to build on his MVP-caliber 2022 season with the Dodgers.
Smith split catching duties with J.T. Realmuto on Team USA and went 3-for-10 with a home run in three games. Prior to leaving for the WBC, Smith appeared in five Cactus League games with L.A.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts expects Smith to start in the majority of the team’s remaining Spring Training games to continue preparing for the regular season, via SportsNet LA:
“I am mindful of Will. He got to be a part of it, but he didn’t play that much. So he’s still got to get ready, log innings behind the plate as well as take at-bats. … We have seven games, so the thought is he’ll play parts of four games is my hope.”
Smith enjoyed a career year in 2022, batting .260/.343/.465 with 26 doubles, 24 home runs and 87 RBI across 137 games while accumulating 4.2 WAR. His 132 WRC+ is the highest among all catchers since the start of the 2020 season (minimum 600 plate appearances).
Will Smith may receive fewer starts due to J.D. Martinez being Dodgers’ DH
Smith received most of his playing time at catcher last season, but got extra opportunities at designated hitters on days when Barnes was behind the plate. However, with J.D. Martinez now a member of the Dodgers, Roberts suggested Smith is in line to take more full days off this year.
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