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Mookie Betts returns to Dodgers lineup, earlier than expected

MLB: SEP 05 Dodgers at Marlins Photo by Peter Joneleit/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

This weekend on the east coast has been a gamut of emotions for the Dodgers, beginning with Mookie Betts leaving Miami on crutches Thursday after fouling a ball off his foot. After initially expecting the superstar to miss the entire weekend series against the Nationals, Dave Roberts has Betts back in the lineup for Sunday’s series finale.

Testing on Betts’ foot didn’t reveal anything serious beyond a bone bruise. Though Roberts said Friday it was unlikely Betts would play against the Nationals, the manager hedged his Betts on Saturday as the player went through a pregame routine at Nationals Park.

“I didn’t have any expectations for him going into this series for him to play,” Roberts told reporters Saturday, per SportsNet LA. “But if he comes out of [Saturday] fine and I hear from the training staff that he’s good to go, then obviously we change.”

Betts is batting leadoff as usual, and playing second base on Sunday with right-hander Trevor Williams on the mound for Washington. Had Betts not played Sunday, he would have very likely started Monday or one of the first few games against the Padres.

“There’s a fine line between getting rusty and losing what you have. Even if he’s in there [Sunday] or Monday, he’s probably not going to be 100 percent,” Roberts said Saturday, again per SportsNet LA. “If it’s playable and he feels like we can’t hurt it anymore and compromise any other body part, I’ve got no problem running him out there.

After his first seven outings with the Dodgers were in relief, Ryan Yarbrough starts on Sunday for the Dodgers. He’s on four days rest after pitching three innings on Tuesday in Miami.