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Mookie Betts, Dodgers shortstop?

Los Angeles Dodgers v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

The Dodgers’ depth at shortstop to start the season has been shallow with a season ending injury to Gavin Lux and Miguel Rojas missing time due to groin and hamstring issues. Chris Taylor suffered a side injury on Monday.

Dave Roberts is even considering an unorthodox lineup for Wednesday, one that puts Gold Glove outfielder Mookie Betts at shortstop for the first time in his major league career.

Betts is set to return from the paternity list on Wednesday, is is likely to start in the infield, maybe even at shortstop. Roberts has expressed confidence in Betts to man the position with proficiency, as Juan Toribio of notes:

“There’s a chance I might slide him over to shortstop,” Roberts said with a smile. “He looks extremely natural. The guy can play anywhere on a baseball field...I think there were some reservations about him playing second base last year and he quickly put those to bed,” Roberts said. “So it’s going to be the same thing.”

Betts, a fifth-round draft pick by the Red Sox in 2011, was originally picked as a second baseman out of John Overton High in Nashville. Betts played 14 minor league games at shortstop before turning 20, and also played two innings at the position in one game in the Arizona Fall League in 2013.

He was called up in 2014 to fill in for an injured Dustin Pedroia and from there, he expanded his versatility at defense, as he played both center field and right field in 2015.

Betts became a full time right fielder in 2016, the same year where he received his first of two runner-up placements in MVP voting (finishing behind 2016 AL MVP Mike Trout). From that point, Betts has won a Gold Glove in every single season aside from 2021, losing out to Adam Duvall.

Now Betts is prepared to enter a new frontier: playing shortstop for the first time as a major league player.