The Los Angeles Dodgers placed star right fielder Mookie Betts on the injured list with a fractured rib over a week ago, but the team is hopeful he will return next month.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts told reporters Wednesday that he is "very optimistic" about Betts returning to the lineup before the All-Star break in July. However, he might first return as the team's designated hitter because "throwing has been more bothersome for him than swinging," per Jack Harris of the Los Angeles Times.
Betts was initially supposed to resume baseball activities on June 26, but his condition hadn't improved enough since suffering the rib fracture in a collision with Cody Bellinger on June 15, Roberts told reporters earlier this week.
The 29-year-old told reporters earlier this month that he's not frustrated by his latest ailment.
"It’s not disappointing at all. That’s kind of part of," Betts said. "It’s kind of like a freak accident. I’m out for a couple weeks and I’ll be able to be back and still help the team win. So I’m not disappointed by it."
After struggling with a hip ailment during the 2021 campaign, Betts had remained mostly healthy this season and was playing well. Through 60 games, the five-time All-Star is hitting .273/.349/.535 with 17 home runs and 40 RBI in addition to six stolen bases.
With Betts likely slated to return as the Dodgers DH, it'll be interesting to see how Roberts decides to roll out his lineup, as Max Muncy and Justin Turner are primarily used in the position.
Muncy is used more than Turner as the team's DH and could shift to first base, but that seems unlikely with Freddie Freeman manning the position. Muncy does have experience playing second base as well. Turner serves as the team's starting third baseman but has also seen time at DH.
Not much will change in right field as Chris Taylor and Eddy Alvarez have seen time filling in for Betts.
The Dodgers are currently first in the NL West with a 45-28 record, just one game ahead of the Padres. They'll need Betts fully healthy in order to compete for the division crown.