Dodgers Preparing For Unexpected With Mookie Betts Playing Second Base
Mookie Betts
Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports

When the Los Angeles Dodgers’ lineup was released ahead of Thursday’s game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, many thought there was a typo as Mookie Betts was listed as the starting second baseman.

Betts came up with the Boston Red Sox as a second baseman but hadn’t started there since 2014 and has developed into arguably the best defensive right fielder in baseball. Betts logged all of six innings at second base in 2018.

The Dodgers’ lineup was correct, however, as Betts actually played second base in the 5-2 loss.

“He takes grounders every day in the infield. He came to me a couple weeks ago and we were just talking about potential scenarios and how we move players around the diamond, and if there ever was an opportunity in the postseason, where things sort of get crazy, that he might find himself in the infield,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts explained.

“For me, nothing is off the table, especially when a player like Mookie is open to it. I just felt this was a good opportunity for him to log some innings, get the feel of it and see what he thinks. Right now, just gathering information. He wants to do it, he’s excited about it, he takes grounders every day and it’s going to be fun tonight.”

The position change isn’t permanent; Betts is still the Dodgers’ right fielder. But Roberts further elaborated on what type of situation he could see him playing second base in the postseason.

“You sometimes hit for guys early, the game could be in the balance in the third or fourth inning. As you’re playing teams that nowadays, we saw with the Brewers a couple years ago where they’re deploying bullpens (early), you just never know what could happen,” he said.

“If you scratch a couple runs across early, that might prove beneficial later. The option of having him be able to play second base if we’ve got Pollock in there or different guys, Joc could be in the game, you just never know how it could play out. Just giving me more options, where sometimes in the playoffs it can get crazy.”

Betts had a few chances to make plays throughout the course of the game and made the routine one but struggled on the tough ones, which can be expected. Overall, Roberts was pleased with his showing.

Betts expected to play second base again

The Dodgers have a number of different options to play second base, but Roberts expects to get some more time there to finish out the regular season.

“I would say maybe another start and maybe another time going from right field to second base,” he said.

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