MLB Notebook: Mookie Betts suffers hand injury, Bo Bichette suggested as possible replacement for Dodgers

Mookie Betts Injury
Photo credit:© Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Brett Holden
24 days ago

Pair of Dodgers stars suffer concerning injuries over the weekend

The Los Angeles Dodgers have lost two of their superstars over the weekend as Yoshinobu Yamamoto and Mookie Betts will both miss time after suffering a couple of serious injuries.
Yamamoto started for the Dodgers on Saturday against the Royals. Unfortunately for Yamo, after striking out Dairon Blanco to end the second inning, he would make his way down the tunnel. After a few minutes, Dodgers pitching coach Mark Prior rushed down the dugout to retrieve manager Dave Roberts and Yamamoto’s interpreter Yoshihiro Sonoda.
Roberts was visibly upset before making his way to the clubhouse, immediately raising concern around one of the many big-name acquisitions from the Dodgers historic offseason. Michael Grove took over for Yamamoto in the top of the third.
The team announced he left with forearm tightness but has been placed on the 15-day IL with a strained rotator cuff. For now, Yamamoto has avoided surgery, but according to AM570’s David Vassegh, he isn’t expected to return until August at the earliest.
However, the weekend terror was not yet finished for the Dodgers, as disaster struck for Mookie Betts on Sunday. With a three-run lead in the bottom of the seventh, a 98 mph Dan Altavilla fastball would run inside on Mookie and hit him on his left hand. Mookie backed out of the box and hit the ground in pain, grabbing his hand to his chest. It would take Betts over two minutes before he would be able to gather himself and head towards the dugout. The overwhelming silence from Dodger Stadium and SportsNet LA’s announce crew, Joe Davis and Orel Hershiser, would be all you needed to know about the concern of Mookie’s injury.
Betts fractured his left hand and will be out for a while, there is no timetable as of yet for his recovery. Mookie has avoided surgery on his hand as well but will require a stint on the injured list.
Betts has been rocking an MVP-level season for Los Angeles this season hitting .304 with ten home runs and 40 RBIs in the Dodgers leadoff spot. Replacing Mookie will not be an easy task if it’s even feasibly plausible, but Dave Roberts remains confident in the club he has right now. 
[The concern is] more for Mookie, personally. We’re going to be fine. We have really good players and we’ve got to move on.”
Roberts also announced a couple of changes in the wake of Betts’ injury: Now taking over the leadoff duties will be Shohei Ohtani. Ohtani has leadoff once for the Dodgers this season, going 0-4 against the Cincinnati Reds in the middle of May.
As for who will take over at short for the Dodgers, it will be veteran infielder, Miguel Rojas. Rojas has had a decent year at the plate so far in a limited role this year with a .278 batting average with three homers and 14 RBIs in 108 at-bats. Rojas was thrust into the starting position last season as well after Gavin Lux tore his ACL, and LCL, while also suffering significant damage to his hamstring. David Vassegh says the Dodgers have been concerned with Rojas’ ability to stay healthy this year and have seen some reduced time on the diamond.
But where does this leave the Dodgers now? One of the best players in baseball and your shiny new toy from Japan are both on the shelf for a while, how can you supplement those losses?
On the pitching side, the Dodgers are expecting homegrown talent, Bobby Miller to return to the rotation this week after missing over two and a half months with right shoulder inflammation. 
Plus, Dodgers legend, Clayton Kershaw, is expected to head out on his rehab stint with the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes in the coming weeks. Reinforcements are coming for the Blue Crew and their pitching staff.
As for the shortstop spot… not so much.
We spoke about Rojas but fan-favourite utility guy, Kiké Hernández will also get some time at short. Kiké has not yet played shortstop this year but got into ten games with the Dodgers last year and 64 games in Boston. Roberts says he will also rotate Hernández into the spot to give Rojas some rest but will primarily default to Rojas for the time being.
While Rojas and Hernández offer the Dodgers veteran options, it doesn’t exactly scream stability.
Los Angeles has had a major middle infield problem this season, stemming from the return of Gavin Lux. Lux’s return from his horrific injury was a welcome sight and also led to the organization moving on from the then No. 4 overall prospect, Michael Busch. Busch had a strong start to the season, tying a Cubs franchise record for the most consecutive games with a home run with five; Gavin Lux lost his job as the starting shortstop for the Los Angeles Dodgers before the end of Spring Training.
Mookie was forced into the position he was drafted as, but had only played 16 times since turning pro in 2014.
But, could something be brewing with the Dodgers after Betts’ injury?

Apr 24, 2024; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Toronto Blue Jays shortstop Bo Bichette (11) bats during the fifth inning against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

L.A. has been in the middle of trade rumours swirling around middle infielders since the winter. Players like Willy Adames and Paul DeJong have been linked to the Blue Crew, but one name could gain some interest in the coming weeks… Bo Bichette.
As Sportsnet’s Jeff Blair reports, the Dodgers and the Blue Jays had discussions over the winter about Bichette and a potential trade for the young shortstop. In the negotiations, the Dodgers offered up Lux as a potential return as they have apparently been shopping the contentious infielder around to multiple teams already. Los Angeles would also likely have to add another prospect in a deal for Bo, like organization No. 7 prospect Diego Cartaya, No. 12 prospect Landon Knack, or No. 13 prospect Maddux Burns.
A lot of people believe that now would be the time for the Jays to move on from a star like Bo Bichette. Bo has one more year of team control before hitting the open market at the end of next season and teams would be less willing to part with valuable pieces next season for a potential rental if Bo just left that offseason. With the obvious need at short right now for the Dodgers and Bo easily solving the middle infield issue for the Dodgers, making a move for Bo now almost makes the most sense for either side.
But, what do you think? Will the Dodgers go out and make a move for a middle infielder now? Or will they wait it out til the deadline and hope the reinforcements can hold their own?

Umpire punished after breaking MLB gambling rules

MLB umpire, Pat Hoberg has been disciplined by the league after violating the MLB’s rules against sports gambling. Hoberg has appealed the decision but for now, will remain held out of games this season.
Hoberg has not yet umpired a game this season, his last appearance was during last year’s Postseason. This is the fourth case of confirmed gambling within the MLB this season including Ippei Mizuhara, Tucupita Marcano, and David Fletcher, but Hoberg becomes the first umpire to be involved in Major League history.
Hoberg has yet to speak to the media during his appeal but in a statement assured that his actions did not affect the outcome of any games he umpired in his career.
I have devoted my adult life to the profession of umpiring, and the integrity of baseball is of the utmost importance to me.
After their investigation, the league concurred with Hoberg and his integrity in his craft, but he did still violate the MLB’s rules on gambling. In a statement of their own, the league confirms they are unable to outline what particular rules Hoberg broke due to his appeal.
While MLB’s investigation did not find any evidence that games worked by Mr. Hoberg were compromised or manipulated in any way, MLB determined that discipline was warranted… Mr. Hoberg has chosen to appeal that determination. Therefore, we cannot comment further until the appeal process is concluded.”
The league launched an investigation into Hoberg during Spring Training this year, leading to Hoberg’s absence since the start of the season.
Known as one of baseball’s most accurate game callers, Hoberg boasted a 98th percentile accuracy amongst all umpires in 2023, 96th percentile in accuracy above expected, and 98th percentile in consistency. Hoberg really established himself as a reliable umpire in 2022 when he achieved a 100% accuracy rate in Game 1 of the World Series with a 93.2% expected accuracy.
Major League Baseball made an example out of Tucupita Marcano a few weeks ago, banning him for life while also handing out one-year bans to four other minor leaguers. Could the fact that Hoberg did not affect any outcomes of games he called help him? I am sure. But, he is the first umpire in baseball to be caught with such allegations; could the MLB make an example out of him as well?

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