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The Sports Report: Dodgers win as Mookie Betts heads back to the IL

Mookie Betts
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

Howdy, I’m your host, Houston Mitchell. Let’s get right to the news.

Mike DiGiovanna on the Dodgers: Mookie Betts, as expected, was placed on the 10-day injured list because of an inflamed right hip before Wednesday night’s 8-2 victory (Cody Bellinger homered twice in the game) over the Philadelphia Phillies in Citizens Bank Park.

The Dodgers outfielder was scheduled to fly to Los Angeles Wednesday night to be examined by doctors today. He was replaced on the 26-man roster by pitcher Edwin Uceta.

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“He’s disappointed, frustrated, but we’re gonna have some more experts chime in and try to figure this thing out,” manager Dave Roberts said. “We’re going to keep digging in on this, and hopefully he responds well.”

Betts was scratched from Tuesday night’s series opener because of the hip, which, according to Roberts, was “achy, sore,” even after Betts did not play in Sunday’s game against the Angels and Monday’s off-day. Roberts said Wednesday’s move is not an indication that the hip has worsened.

“No, I think it’s the same,” Roberts said. “The action to make the move to the IL would seem otherwise, but symptomatically, it is what it is. It’s difficult to for him to navigate and move around. You still have to have a functional roster, so to get him some rest is a no-brainer step for us.”

The Dodgers did not put a timetable on a return for Betts but remain hopeful it will not take much longer than 10 days.

“Right now, we’re trying to get some of the pain and discomfort to dissipate,” Roberts said. “That’s what we’re hoping these next eight days will accomplish, and we’ll see where he’s at. We’re hopeful it’s a 10-day thing and he’ll be back with us. I just don’t want to put any [timetable] on his return.”

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ANGELS

Jack Harris on the Angels: After batting leadoff just four times in the season’s first 113 games, Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani led off during Wednesday’s game against Toronto for the second consecutive contest.

The reason?

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“He’s not gonna get pitched to,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said. “I’m trying to protect him with the whole lineup.”

Before last month’s All-Star break, Ohtani had found a dangerous mix of power and patience. In 47 games between May 17 and July 11, he hit 21 home runs and drew a walk on more than 17% of plate appearances.

Since the All-Star break, however, pitchers have seemingly altered their plan of attack against the left-handed slugger — especially with Mike Trout, Anthony Rendon and Jared Walsh all battling injuries.

While Ohtani has seen slightly more pitches in the strike zone — 46.4% of pitches since All-Star break have been in the zone, compared to 43.9% prior — he’s getting fewer over the middle or inner-half of the plate.

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Instead, opponents have focused on pounding the outer corners. In that time, Ohtani has suffered a reduction in power (he hasn’t homered in 13 straight games entering Wednesday) and walks (his walk rate since the All-Star break has dropped to 16.1%).

CORONAVIRUS

Bill Shaikin on the coronavirus: Five Southern California teams have agreed to require employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

The Lakers, Kings, Ducks, Galaxy and Chargers have mandated vaccinations for full-time employees at offices within the United States, according to a statement Wednesday from AEG, the parent company of the Kings and Galaxy and the Staples Center landlord of the Lakers. The requirement would include “limited exceptions as required by law,” the statement said.

The mandate would not apply to athletes. Players on those teams are represented by unions, and working conditions generally are negotiated in collective bargaining.

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The agreement also covers live entertainment companies and events: AEG, Live Nation Entertainment, Goldenvoice, the annual Coachella music festival, and ticket-buying platform AXS.

“Vaccination against COVID-19 is the most effective means of preventing infection from COVID-19 virus, and subsequent transmission and outbreaks,” California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said in a statement. “These organizations are setting a good example for other companies, and I applaud their efforts.”

USC FOOTBALL

Ryan Kartje on the Trojans: Seventeen long months had passed since Miller Moss last stepped into a huddle, but when he arrived at USC during the spring as one of two touted freshmen vying to emerge as the heir apparent to quarterback Kedon Slovis, Moss expected to pick up right where he left off in high school.

“I don’t think it was a realistic expectation,” the freshman realizes now.

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Moss has never lacked confidence, but the long layoff from football left him feeling overwhelmed. Suddenly, everything was faster and more competitive. The transition proved to be a steeper learning curve than he expected. While Jaxson Dart, the Trojans’ other four-star freshman quarterback, turned heads with his big arm and big-play potential, Moss spent most of the spring just finding his footing.

The disparity was enough for some to quickly anoint Dart over his counterpart. But a few days into a critical fall camp that could determine the direction USC takes with its next quarterback, Moss appears to have closed that gap to some degree.

“I just keep feeling better and better,” Moss said.

ANGEL CITY

Angel City FC announced its debut season-ticket prices Wednesday, offering packages that start at $15 per game and incentives that include limited access to free road-match tickets.

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A limited number of season tickets for Angel City’s 12 home games at Banc of California Stadium in 2022 will cost $180 per person. More than 10,000 season-ticket packages are available for less than $240 and another 15,000 are priced at less than $360.

Single-game ticket rates have not been announced yet and will go on sale at a later date.

THIS DATE IN SPORTS

1876 — Madeleine wins two straight heats over Canada’s Countess of Dufferin to defend the America’s Cup.

1936 — Rosalind, driven by Ben White, wins the Hambletonian Stakes in straight heats.

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1937 — Shirley Hanover, driven by Henry Thomas, wins the Hambletonian Stakes in straight heats.

1942 — The Ambassador, driven by Ben White, wins the Hambletonian Stakes in the third heat.

1953 — Helicopter, driven by Harry Harvey, wins the Hambletonian Stakes in the third heat.

1978 — Cold Comfort, driven by 23-year-old Peter Haughton, ties the International Trot mark of 2:31 3-5 at Roosevelt Raceway which makes Haughton the youngest driver to win the International.

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1990 — Wayne Grady of Australia sheds his runner-up image with a 3-stroke victory over Fred Couples in the PGA Championship.

1994 — Major league baseball players strike in the sport’s eighth work stoppage since 1972.

1995 — Ernie Els sets a PGA record with the lowest three-day score in a major. Els, with a 197, holds a three-stroke lead in the PGA Championship.

2000 — Evander Holyfield scores a 12-round unanimous decision over John Ruiz in Las Vegas to win the vacant WBA heavyweight title.

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2007 — Tiger Woods captures the PGA Championship to win at least one major for the third straight season and run his career total to 13. Woods closes with a 1-under 69 for a two-shot victory over Woody Austin.

2011 — Tiger Woods misses the cut at the PGA Championship at Atlanta Athletic Club. With one final bogey for a 3-over 73, Woods finishes out of the top 100 for the first time ever in a major. He is 15 shots behind Jason Dufner and Keegan Bradley.

2012 — The U.S. men’s basketball team defend its title by fighting off another huge challenge from Spain, pulling away in the final minutes for a 107-100 victory and its second straight Olympic championship. The victory by the men’s basketball team gives the United States its 46th gold medal in London, the most ever by Americans in a “road” Olympics.

2012 — Rory McIlroy breaks the PGA Championship record for margin of victory that Jack Nicklaus set in 1980. McIlroy sinks one last birdie from 25 feet on the 18th hole to give him a 6-under 66 for an eight-shot victory. McIlroy closes out a remarkable week by playing bogey-free over the final 23 holes of a demanding Ocean Course at Kiawah Island, S.C.

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2016 — Katie Ledecky caps off one of the greatest performances in Olympic history with her fourth gold medal and second world record, shattering her own mark in the 800-meter freestyle. Ledecky is the first woman since Debbie Meyer swept the three longer freestyle events at the same Olympics. Meyer took the 200, 400 and 800 at the 1968 Mexico Games.

2017 — Usain Bolt ends his stellar career in excruciating pain. The Jamaican great crumples to the track with a left-leg injury while chasing a final gold medal for the Jamaican 4x100-meter relay team at the world championships in London. Having to make up lots of ground on the anchor leg, Bolt suddenly screams and stumbles as he comes down with the first injury he has experienced at a major competition.

2018 — Brooks Koepka wins his first PGA Championship, playing poised and mistake-free golf down the stretch amid ear-splitting roars for Tiger Woods and a late charge from revitalized Adam Scott. Koepka becomes the fifth player to win the U.S. Open and the PGA in the same year.

And finally

Katie Ledecky wins the 800-meter freestyle at the 2016 Olympics. Watch it here.

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Until next time...

That concludes today’s newsletter. If you have any feedback, ideas for improvement or things you’d like to see, email me at houston.mitchell@latimes.com, and follow me on Twitter at @latimeshouston. To get this newsletter in your inbox, click here.


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