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Mookie Betts out of lineup, Cody Bellinger placed on injured list

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Calf injury for Bellinger, back stiffness for Betts

League Championship - Atlanta Braves v Los Angeles Dodgers - Game Six Photo by Robert Gauthier/ Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The Dodgers home opener opener against the Nationals includes both former MVPs out of the lineup, Mookie Betts misses his second straight game Friday with back stiffness and is day-to-day, while Cody Bellinger misses his third straight game with an injured calf.

Bellinger was placed on the injured list retroactive to Tuesday, meaning the earliest he could return is Friday, April 16.

Bellinger got spiked in the left calf by A’s pitcher Reymin Guduan in the ninth inning on Monday, and had to leave the game. Tests in Oakland showed no stress fracture and no structural damage in Bellinger’s leg, but he was unavailable for both Tuesday and Wednesday’s games against the A’s.

“All the tests we’ve run show this will be a short missing of time rather than longer term,” manager Dave Roberts said Friday.

Dodgers-Nationals lineups

Pos Nationals Pos Dodgers
Pos Nationals Pos Dodgers
CF Robles CF Taylor
SS Turner SS Seager (L)
RF Soto (L) 3B Turner
1B Zimmerman 1B Muncy (L)
3B Castro C Smith
LF Stevenson (L) 2B Lux (L)
2B Garcia (L) LF Pollock
C Lucroy RF McKinstry (L)
P Ross P Buehler

Betts was scratched from Wednesday afternoon’s lineup with lower back stiffness, and his availability for Friday’s game is still in question. We just know he’s not starting. Betts has a hit in all five games this season, hitting .348/.464/.565 with four walks and just one strikeout in 29 plate appearances.

Chris Taylor, who also missed a game this week — Tuesday, with a left elbow contusion after getting hit by a pitch — is starting in center field for the Dodgers on Friday, as he did on Wednesday. Taylor has started games in center, left, right field, and second base so far this season.

Corey Seager is 5-for-7 (.714) with a home run and a double in his career against Nationals starter Joe Ross. Will Smith, who starts at catcher in the home opener, has a home run, a double, and a sacrifice fly in three plate appearances against Ross.

The Dodgers recalled Luke Raley from the taxi squad.

The Nationals made a flurry of moves of their own, after having their first series postponed due to COVID-19 protocols. On Friday, they reinstated catchers Yan Gomes and Alex Avila, reliever Brad Hand, and infielder Jordy Mercer from the injured list. Infielder Carter Kieboom, catcher Tres Barrera, and pitcher Ryne Harper were optioned, and outfielder Cody Wilson was returned to the club’s alternate training site in Fredericksburg, Virginia.

Game info

  • Teams: Dodgers vs. Nationals
  • Location: Dodger Stadium
  • Time: 1:10 p.m. PT
  • TV: SportsNet LA, MLB Network (out of market)