Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Mookie Betts injury: Perennial All-Star suffers fractured left hand on errant 98 mph hit-by-pitch

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The Los Angeles Dodgers absorbed a massive blow on Sunday, as shortstop and perennial All-Star Mookie Betts suffered a fractured left hand. Manager Dave Roberts disclosed the news after the Dodgers’ 3-0 win over the visiting Royals. 

Betts sustained the injury when he was struck on the hand by a 98-mph fastball from Dan Altavilla in the seventh inning:

After being attended to, Betts exited the game and was replaced by pinch-runner Miguel Rojas. 

The severity of the fracture will play a major role in how long Betts will be out, but his absence figures to be a significant one. According to the Baseball Prospectus injury-recovery database, typical recovery times range from two to three months. However long Betts is out, he’ll be sorely missed. 

This season, Betts was tasked with manning shortstop despite being a primary right fielder across his extensive major-league career to date. Betts has adjusted to the role better than anyone could expect, and he’s also continued to be a frontline producer at the plate. In 72 games this season, he’s slashed .304/.405/.488 with 10 home runs and nine stolen bases in 72 games. While Betts is out, Rojas figures to be the Dodgers’ regular at short. 

The loss of Betts comes just after the Dodgers placed budding ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto on the injured list with what’s been diagnosed as a strained rotator cuff. Yamamoto was placed on the IL earlier in the day. 

Still, even with all the injuries, the Dodgers remain comfortably in first place in the National League West. Sunday’s win put the Dodgers at 44-29 for the season, and they hold an eight-game lead over the second-place Padres. 

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