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Dodgers' Mookie Betts to Return from Rib Injury Sunday vs. Padres

Erin WalshJuly 3, 2022

Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder Mookie Betts will return to the lineup Sunday against the San Diego Padres, manager Dave Roberts revealed after Saturday's 7-2 win over the Friars.

Betts has been sidelined since June 16 with a cracked rib suffered on a collision with teammate Cody Bellinger.

The news comes after Roberts told reporters on Wednesday that he was "very optimistic" about Betts returning before the July All-Star break.

It's unclear what position Betts will play in his return. However, Roberts suggested Friday that the 29-year-old could play second base because it's easier for him to throw and he doesn't like to be the team's designated hitter, per Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times.

Jack Harris of the Los Angeles Times previously noted Betts could return at DH because "throwing has been more bothersome for him than swinging," but that no longer seems like a possibility.

Betts has plenty of experience at second base, having primarily played the position during his minor league career, in addition to 182 innings at the position in the majors. Moving him to second base would likely force Gavin Lux out of the lineup.

After dealing with a hip injury during the 2021 season, Betts has been mostly healthy this season. Through 60 games, he's hitting .273/.349/.535 with 17 home runs and 40 RBI, in addition to six stolen bases.

If Betts doesn't return in right field, Tayce Thompson and Eddy Alvarez will continue to play the position. Chris Taylor would normally play right field in Betts' absence, but he suffered a foot injury in Saturday's game and his status is unclear.

The Dodgers are first in the NL West with a 49-28 record, and they've ballooned their division lead to 4.5 games with Betts out of the lineup. With the four-time Silver Slugger set to return, the lead may only grow in the coming days and weeks.

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