Mookie Betts is arguably the most notable member of the Los Angeles Dodgers representing the organization in the 2023 World Baseball Classic, and public debate over his participation has increased since injuries to Freddie Freeman and Edwin Díaz.
Betts has been a key member of the star-studded United States team, delivering a 4-for-17 performance to help them emerge from Pool C. Scoring four runs across the team’s first four games, Betts has also been the leadoff hitter for Team USA.
As Team USA aims to advance to semifinals by defeating Pool D winner Team Venezuela on Friday night at loanDepot Park in Miami, Betts dismissed blaming injuries on the WBC in the wake of Díaz suffering a torn patellar tendon that will likely cause him to miss the entire 2023 season.
“I mean, those things, they can happen to anybody at any given time,” Betts said. “And you can always try and place blame on the WBC, but that’s just a freak accident that could happen to anyone at any given time.”
While some might highlight that Díaz’s injury was certainly under a rare circumstance, occurring during his Team Puerto Rico’s celebration on the mound after a 5-2 victory against the Dominican Republic, the Mets nevertheless are robbed of the sport’s best closer for the year.
In addition to Díaz, the World Baseball Classic injury bug offered the Dodgers a scare of their own after Freeman was taken out of his Team Canada’s loss to Mexico on Tuesday with an apparent hamstring strain.
Although Freeman’s injury did not end up being severe, both instances have to have caused concern for all big league clubs with players still remaining in the tournament’s final rounds of play.
Before Team Canada’s elimination, Freeman went 2-for-10 three runs scored over three games. He’s expected to be back in the Dodgers lineup this weekend and be on track for Opening Day.
Mookie Betts 2023 World Baseball Classic performance
Game 1 vs. Great Britain: 1-for-5 (6-2 win)
Game 2 vs. Mexico: 0-for-5 (11-5 loss)
Game 3 vs. Canada: 1-for-3, two runs (12-1 win)
Game 4 vs. Colombia: 2-for-4, two runs (3-2 win)
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