Dodgers right-fielder Mookie Betts came up as a second baseman, moving to the outfield because the Red Sox had Dustin Pedroia blocking his path at second. We’d say the move worked out pretty well, with Betts winning the Gold Glove in right field in six of the last seven years.
Still, Betts loves playing the infield, and LA manager Dave Roberts has talked about using 2B as an occasional break for Betts, keeping his bat in the lineup but cutting down on his running once in a while. Mookie has played seven games at second base in each of the last two seasons.
Betts will be playing for another team this spring — Team USA in the World Baseball Classic — and his manager there is thinking about the infield, too. Mark DeRosa was on Los Angeles radio recently and talked about the possibility of Betts seeing time at second base.
“He would tell you he’s a second baseman that got moved to right field. Listen, I’m going to honor Mookie — if he wants to see a little bit of time at second base, then I’m certainly going to get him some innings at second base. It might not be in an elimination game when our lives are on the line, but he certainly is going to play some second base over the course of this. He’s dead set on this being a priority for this. … He can pretty much do whatever he wants on a baseball field, but the problem is you have to justify that to the other 29 guys. So that’s my thing, it’s like, I know Mookie can get it done, but I also want a true second baseman on the roster that has proven in big spots he can turn a double play.”
Team USA has Jeff McNeil on the roster, but he’s currently the only true second baseman. Trevor Story had been on the team, but he won’t play due to injury. DeRosa also has Trea Turner, who played second base after being traded to the Dodgers in 2021, but that appears to be the extent of second base experience on the roster.
So Mookie might play second base because DeRosa likes him and wants him to be happy, but he also might play second base because it gives Team USA the best chance to win.
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