Mookie Betts is out of the Dodgers’ starting lineup for the second straight game, with the team set to play the second of a three-game series against the San Diego Padres on Tuesday night.
Betts has been battling a swollen left middle finger that was injured during Sunday’s series finale in Arizona. Monday’s loss to the Padres was the first game Betts had missed as a Dodger.
“Playing defense wasn’t that bad, [but] I don’t know if I can hold a bat,” Betts said during a radio interview with AM 570 on Monday. “We’re so deep on our team, I would rather not play at 50-60%. I would rather let some guys play at 100%.”
During a pregame Zoom call, manager Dave Roberts said Betts’ swelling had “dissipated some, but not where we feel comfortable having him out there.”
Betts tried taking practice swings Monday but still felt discomfort in his hand.
“The hope is is to get him back in there tomorrow,” Roberts added. “But we’ll see how it progresses.”
Joc Pederson will take Betts’ place in right field and lead off for a second consecutive game, a role he immediately embraced Monday by hitting his 21st career leadoff home run.
Pederson is one of six left-handed batters in the Dodgers’ lineup with the Padres starting hard-throwing right-hander Dinelson Lamet, who has a 1.80 ERA and 15 strikeouts in two starts (10 total innings) this season.
One of those lefties, Corey Seager, will be the designated hitter for a second straight day after missing Sunday’s game with a left quad issue. Kiké Hernández will fill in at shortstop.
“I think Corey could have played defense today,” Roberts said. “I expect him to play defense tomorrow. But I just wanted to give it one more day.”
Right-handed rookie Dustin May will pitch for the Dodgers. In his first two starts, the sinkerball-specialist gave up two total runs in 7 2/3 combined innings. Austin Barnes will be his catcher.
“He’s got to be able to incorporate the breaking ball and work ahead,” Roberts said when asked what May needs to do to work deeper into starts. “He’s an uncomfortable at-bat, so if he can get strike one, it should be better.”
1. Joc Pederson — Right field
2. Max Muncy — Second base
3. Justin Turner — Third Base
4. Cody Bellinger — Center field
5. Corey Seager — Designated hitter
6. Matt Beaty — Left field
7. Edwin Ríos — First base
8. Kiké Hernández — Shortstop
9. Austin Barnes — Catcher
Dustin May — Starting pitcher