Dodgers ponder shortstop for Betts after paternity leave

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Los Angeles Dodgers' Mookie Betts (50) hits an RBI single in front of San Francisco Giants catcher Joey Bart during the seventh inning of a baseball game in San Francisco, Monday, April 10, 2023. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

LOS ANGELES – Dodgers star Mookie Betts was placed on the paternity list, keeping him out of Tuesday night's game against the New York Mets, and the Gold Glove right fielder could find himself playing a new position when he returns Wednesday.

Los Angeles filled Betts' roster spot by recalling infielder Luke Williams from Triple-A Oklahoma City. Right-hander Daniel Hudson (ankle) was moved to the 60-day injured list to make room on the 40-man roster for Williams.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Betts likely will play the infield when he comes back for Wednesday afternoon's series finale against the Mets. Betts has played five games at second base this season, including four starts.

Roberts, however, didn’t specify where Betts would play. With shortstop Gavin Lux (knee) out for the season and infielders Miguel Rojas and Chris Taylor ailing, Roberts was asked if Betts could see action at shortstop for the first time in his major league career.

“There’s a chance I might slide him over to short,” Roberts said. “We’ll see.”

The manager acknowledged that if the Dodgers had forced extra innings against the Mets on Monday night, Betts would have played shortstop. Taylor left the game in the eighth with soreness in his left side, and a stint on the injured list is under consideration.

“He’s been clamoring for quite some time (to play shortstop),” Roberts said of Betts. “So we’ll see how it plays out.”

Roberts said that at some point “every day,” during batting practice or in pregame infield drills, Betts will take a least a handful of grounders at shortstop.

The skipper was asked about the potential for Betts getting hurt while playing an unfamiliar position.

“I don’t think there’s a health risk,” Roberts said. “Obviously you’re looking at where we’re at, and I will decide what gives us the best chance to win. Is it Miguel Rojas, who is coming off some tissue injuries, to play a day game after two night games? The status of (Taylor). All that stuff I will have to weigh and make that decision.”

A simple decision could be to have Williams play shortstop. The 26-year-old Williams, who signed as a free agent with the Dodgers this past offseason, does have five games of major league experience (two starts) at shortstop and has played 72 of his 137 career games in the infield.


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