Mookie Betts, a six-time Gold Glove outfielder, makes ‘permanent’ position change, ‘for now’

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Los Angeles Dodgers star Mookie Betts keeps adding reasons as to why he’s one of the best players in this generation of baseball.

The two-time World Series winner has always been known for his ability to play just about anywhere on the diamond, but he has performed exceptionally as an outfielder.

In fact, Betts has won six Gold Gloves as an outfielder — yet he’s always been able to play the infield in a pinch. He actually came up as an infielder, but the Boston Red Sox moved him in the minors.

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Mookie Betts of the Los Angeles Dodgers warms up during the fourth inning of a spring training game against the Chicago White Sox at Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Arizona, on Feb. 27. (David Durochik/Diamond Images via Getty Images)

Actually, out of necessity, Betts became the Dodgers‘ full-time second baseman in the second half of last season.

On Friday, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Betts playing the infield will be “permanent, for now.” However, he won’t be playing second.

Instead, Betts is making the move to shortstop, a position he did not play at the big league level until last year, making just 12 starts on the left side of the diamond — although he was drafted as a shortstop.

Betts manned second base last year due to injuries around the infield, but as Gavin Lux aims to live up to his top-prospect hype, Roberts says Lux, who was slated to start at short this year, will be moving to second.

Mookie prepping for grounder

Mookie Betts of the Los Angeles Dodgers plays second base during Game 1 of the Division Series against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Oct. 7, 2023. (Rob Leiter/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

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Earlier in the offseason, Roberts had said it was likely that Betts was going to be the Opening Day second baseman, ending his time in the outfield for the foreseeable future.

Lux is not unfamiliar with second — it’s actually where he’s spent most of his time in the majors, playing the middle infield with Trea Turner during his time with Los Angeles. 

However, Lux missed the 2023 season with a torn ACL, and missed substantial time with injuries in the previous two seasons, so perhaps Roberts wants him in a familiar spot for his first MLB game in a year and a half.

Betts has played just 98.0 MLB innings at short, but no one else on the Dodgers has played one there. So, insert Betts.

Mookie Betts playing short

Mookie Betts of the Los Angeles Dodgers prepares to throw out a runner in the game against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field in Chicago on April 21, 2023. (Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

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Meanwhile, the Dodgers’ outfield is loaded with Teoscar Hernandez, James Outman and Jason Heyward, while Chris Taylor and Kike Hernandez can both play just about anywhere on the diamond.

Superstar Shohei Ohtani will also be a full-time DH this season as he recovers from elbow surgery, so the shift keeps Lux’s bat (and obviously Betts’) in the lineup.

Betts could become only the second player in MLB history to win a Gold Glove Award as both an infielder and an outfielder, joining former star Darin Erstad.

If all goes as planned, Betts would also become the only player in MLB history to play 1,000 games in the outfield and 100 games at both second and short.

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