Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Mookie Betts’ off field versatility has been well documented over the years, but now the six-time All Star will finally get an extended opportunity to show his versatility on the baseball field. The Dodgers lost shortstop Gavin Lux early in Spring Training, which forced utility guy Miguel Rojas into the everyday role at short. Utility infielders have become extremely valuable in today’s game, and this move left the Dodgers without one.



But fortunately for manager Dave Roberts, Betts has been waiting for his opportunity to return to the infield dirt. Before the season began, Roberts gave us an idea of how he plans to use his superstar this season. “The way I envision it, Mookie starts about 40 games at second base and 110 in the outfield,” said Roberts. 


Roberts’ decision to use Mookie more in the infield is something that comes after years of Betts lobbying the Dodgers organization to make the change. 


“I’ve been having that conversation for probably the last three or four years,” Betts told MLB Network Radio when asked about his desire to play second base again.  “It’s just my desire to get back in the infield because that’s my home, but they pay me to be out in right. And I definitely enjoy being out in right for sure… but you only play the game for so long and I would like to get back to my roots before it’s all said done. But if I gotta stay in right, I gotta stay in right.”


Now for those who don’t remember, Mookie was primarily a second baseman in the minors, but with Dustin Pedroia already a star in Boston at the major league level, he was forced to the outfield. “I didn’t ask to go to right field. I was forced out there.” 


“I’ve been out there for nine years now, so it’s kind of easy to miss,” he continued. “But yeah, all through my life, that’s where I played — infield. The only time I’m going to go to the outfield is when the game starts. But I take ground balls at short every day.”


The Dodgers hesitancy to move Betts to the infield full time is certainly understandable when you consider that Mookie has been arguably the best right fielder in the game over the past decade. Last season, he claimed his sixth Gold Glove Award while leading all National League right fielders with five Outs Above Average, and only injury has ever slowed his production from the corner spot.




If Mookie were able to duplicate his defensive excellence in the infield, he would only be the second player in MLB history to win a Gold Glove in the outfield and infield. Los Angeles Angels legend Darin Erstad took home Gold Glove Awards in 2000 and 2002 while playing the outfield and eventually took home another in 2004 while playing first base. 


Mookie would be the greatest player in MLB history to make such a switch, and it would come at a time where he could very well refuse. Last season, Betts had a .873 OPS while hitting 40 doubles, 35 home runs and scoring 117 runs. Add his Gold Glove and top five finish in the MVP voting, Betts’ only real incentive to play second again is his own passion for the game. 


That’s what separates the good from the All-Time Greats.

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