Timeline For Mookie Betts Injury Return Revealed, Draws Concerning Comparison

Mookie Betts
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Dodgers rotation suffered a major blow on Saturday when starter Yoshinobu Yamamoto was pulled with a right rotator cuff strain and placed on the injured list. Unfortunately, Dodgers news only got worse with the Mookie Betts injury and his lengthy timeline for a return.

Betts, one of the top NL MVP candidates, left the game after being hit by a pitch on his left hand. The team quickly announced that he suffered a fractured left hand, but they couldn’t put a timetable on when he would return to the Dodgers lineup until he underwent further testing.

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  • Mookie Betts stats (FanGraphs): .304/405/.488, 158 wRC+, .892 OPS, 10 home runs, 50 runs scored, 40 RBI, 9 stolen bases, 3.5 Wins Above Replacement

On Monday, manager Dave Roberts told reporters that Betts is expected to miss roughly six to eight weeks with the hand fracture. The team is comparing it to the broken hand Corey Seager suffered during the 2021 MLB season.

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During the 2021 season, Seager suffered a broken hand on May 15 against the Miami Marlins. He wouldn’t return to the lineup until July 30, missing 65 total games. If Betts is sidelined for a similar length of time, the Dodgers won’t have him back until the second week of August. It at least suggests Betts will miss closer to two full months of action.

At the very least, Betts won’t be rejoining the Dodgers lineup before the MLB trade deadline. The news comes in the face of recent reports connecting Los Angeles to shortstops on the trade market. Los Angeles had been exploring the possibility of acquiring a shortstop so it could move Betts back to second base, a position he’s far better at defensively.

Losing Betts for upwards of 2 months is a massive blow to the team’s run production. Entering MLB games today, Betts ranked ninth in wRC+ (158), seventh in walk rate (14.2 percent), fifth in OBP (.405) and he was in the 99th percentile for Batting Run Value (25).

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Who will replace Mookie Betts?

Mookie Betts injury replacement
Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

With Mookie Betts sidelined, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts announced that Miguel Rojas will take over as the team’s primary shortstop moving forward. The veteran infielder is tentatively expected to start in three of the team’s four games this week against the Colorado Rockies.

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Rojas, age 35, has primarily been a reserve for Los Angeles this season. Across 43 games, he is responsible for a .292/.339/.460 slash line with a .799 OPS and 15 RBI in 113 at-bats. While he will not come close to replicating Betts’ offensive production, he is an upgrade defensively. He ranks in the 95th percentile for Outs Above Average (5) and is in the 89th percentile for Fielding Run Value.

Notably, Roberts said that Betts’ injury does not mean the team won’t allow him to play shortstop when he returns. However, the club’s plans could change depending on what happens at the MLB trade deadline.