Dodgers News: Miguel Rojas Mindful Of ‘Special Preparation’

The Los Angeles Dodgers began what is expected to be a prolonged stretch without Mookie Betts by defeating the Colorado Rockies, 9-5, on Monday at Coors Field.

Filling in at shortstop was Miguel Rojas, who went 3-for-5 with a double, RBI and two runs scored. The 35-year-old will receive the majority of starts at shortstop while Betts is out.

Rojas served as the Dodgers’ primary shortstop last season but has only played in 43 games (31 starts) this season. Despite the somewhat limited opportunities, he has enjoyed one of the best offensive seasons of his career.

Rojas attributed that to putting in extra work before and after games, via Jack Harris of the L.A. Times:

“I’m not 30 years old anymore,” Rojas said. “It takes special preparation, doing rehab, doing postgame work, so that’s what I’m doing.”

Rojas is hitting .292/.339/.460 with 10 doubles, three home runs and 15 RBI in 121 plate appearances. Rojas’ 126 OPS+ is his highest mark since the shortened 2020 season and the second-best of his career.

The veteran believes he could start every game in Betts’ absence, but Dodgers manager Dave Roberts will manage his workload to ensure he stays effective:

“He would argue he could play every day,” Roberts said. “But my job is to manage it, so I think that’s a good rhythm for him. He’s in a good rhythm right now.”

While Rojas is expected to get the bulk of starts at shortstop, Roberts has also noted that Kiké Hernández will receive some opportunities as well.

The utility man has seen time at five different positions this season, but shortstop is not one of them. Hernández has 174 career appearances at the position over his big league career, with 64 coming during the 2023 season as a member of the Boston Red Sox and Dodgers.

Miguel Rojas credits work with Dodgers hitting coaches

Rojas recently into detail about the mechanical adjustments he made and credited Dodgers hitting coaches for helping him keep his hands loose.

“Working alongside the hitting coaches and Roberts, they helped me keep my hands kind of loose, because my hands can be my biggest weapon, but it can be my biggest block too,” Rojas explained.

“If I use them right, I’m going to be successful. If I try to stop them, I’m not going to be good. We found something there. It’s really hard to be consistent with it, but I’m trying to stay disciplined with my work in the cage, and when I get the opportunity to work outside on the field.

“Not playing every day is kind of like a challenge, but at the end of the day, the biggest key for me is facing every game like it’s a playoff game.

“I know I’m just going to receive some opportunities against lefties, and sometimes I’m going to play against righties when the matchup is right. I’m just ready for whatever opportunity they give me.”

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