Dodgers’ Mookie Betts won’t stay at shortstop every game – Orange County Register

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LOS ANGELES — Mookie Betts’ tenure as the Dodgers’ everyday shortstop lasted three games.

With the Dodgers facing a left-handed starter for the first time this season on Friday, their lineup changed with Betts shifting to second base and Miguel Rojas starting at shortstop. Chris Taylor (left field) and Kiké Hernandez (center field) also replaced left-handed hitters Jason Heyward and James Outman in the outfield.

After starting six left-handed hitters in each of the first three games, the Dodgers sent six right-handed hitters out to face St. Louis Cardinals starter Zack Thompson.

This won’t be a total platoon system, though, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.

“Certainly it is not a platoon situation,” Roberts said. “I want Mookie to get as many reps as possible at short while also keeping Miguel Rojas involved too.

“Even with James and Max, (they will play against) sort of the every other left-hander situation as of now.”

The Cardinals will start another left-hander (Steven Matz) on Sunday. Roberts said Max Muncy could get that day off and he hasn’t decided if Betts will be back at shortstop with Gavin Lux or Hernandez at second base.

Over the winter when Roberts talked to Betts about becoming the Dodgers’ everyday second baseman, the Dodgers manager said he didn’t think Betts wanted to go through another season of moving between positions as he did between right field and second base last year.

“I don’t think that that uncertainty is something that he wants to replicate,” Roberts said at the time.

Things changed this spring with the Dodgers’ decision to abandon Lux as their shortstop and that no longer applies, Roberts said.

“No, it doesn’t,” he said Friday. “I think that, as I’ve learned, there’s things that can’t be set in stone because they seem to always sort of change. At that point in time (when he talked with Betts during the offseason), with what we knew, Gavin was gonna play shortstop. That’s just not the case. So what it entails is the conversation and openness and understanding, which Mookie has and has shown to be flexible.

“That’s kind of where we’re at right now. There will be times where he does kick over to second base to get Rojas in there.”

BUEHLER RETURN

Right-hander Walker Buehler will pitch for Triple-A Oklahoma City on a minor-league injury rehabilitation assignment on Sunday in Tacoma, Washington. It will be Buehler’s first game action since a rehab assignment last September was shut down after one two-inning appearance with OKC.

The Dodgers are delaying Buehler’s return from Tommy John surgery in 2022. He is not expected to make his season debut until sometime in May.

Buehler has been throwing to hitters and Roberts said he could make as many as four rehab starts.

“I don’t think it’s set in stone, but I think four is somewhat probably fair, give or take a start. I think four is reasonable,” Roberts said.

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