PHILADELPHIA -- Mookie Betts is heading back to Los Angeles to have medical experts “chime in” on his lingering hip injury as the Dodgers try to figure out how to get the former Most Valuable Player back on the field.
Betts was officially placed on the 10-day injured list Wednesday, replaced on the roster by right-hander Edwin Uceta, who was activated after a short stint on the IL with a back strain.
“Nothing has changed; obviously he's disappointed and frustrated,” manager Dave Roberts said of Betts, who was scratched from Tuesday’s lineup. “We’ll keep digging in on this, and with some rest, hopefully he responds well.”
Betts has been bothered by the hip ailment for most of the second half, already having spent 10 days on the IL from July 20-31. Roberts said Betts’ symptoms make it “difficult for him to navigate and to move around,” making the transaction a necessity.
The Dodgers remain hopeful to have Betts back when he’s eligible at the end of next week, though Roberts declined to put a firm timetable on the outfielder’s return.
“I don't think anyone knows if it's on the 11th day he'll be ready to go,” Roberts said. “Mookie and I talked at length about this; right now, it’s kind of an ‘it is what it is’ situation to hopefully get some of the pain and discomfort to dissipate.”
The Dodgers trail the first-place Giants by four games in the National League West with 49 games to play, so losing Betts for at least 20 percent of those contests will only add to their challenge over the final seven weeks of the season.
“It makes it a little bit more difficult, certainly, when you take a player like that, but we have a lot of talented players,” Roberts said. “At the end of the day, we’ve just got to focus on ourselves and play good baseball games and it'll take care of itself.”
What a relief
Corey Knebel had been on the injured list since April 24, missing 93 games with a right lat strain. He didn’t think about the injury when he took the mound Tuesday, confident that the time away allowed him to heal completely.
“I was on the IL for 80 or 90 days; we took our time to make sure that it was full go, fully healthy,” Knebel said. “I think everything now it's just kind of move forward, not think about it.”
The right-hander sat in the 96-to-97 mph range during his 24-pitch return Tuesday night, walking Odubel Herrera and giving up a single by Jean Segura to start the sixth before striking out Bryce Harper and J.T. Realmuto.
Justin Bruihl relieved Knebel and retired Brad Miller, preserving the Dodgers’ shutout bid.
“Velo has been one thing that’s come back pretty fast from this injury, so it was great to be back out there,” Knebel said. “It was crunch time; the top of the lineup was coming up, so it was good to get in and get out with a clean outing.”
The Dodgers’ bullpen has dealt with a variety of injuries this season, yet Los Angeles’ relief unit ranks fourth in the National League with a 3.55 ERA. They also rank in the top half of the league in appearances, with both Blake Treinen (48) and Kenley Jansen (44) ranking in the top 10 percent of all NL relievers in games pitched.
“I'm kind of like the freshest guy in this bullpen right now, so to be able to give some of these guys breaks, Blake and Kenley, all these guys have been throwing a lot,” Knebel said. “To be able to come in and give them a little rest, and then of course for myself, it's kind of crunch time. I have to make that I'm ready to go into October, too. I think it will be beneficial for all of us.”
AJ Pollock drove in two more runs Tuesday night, the fourth time in seven games this month he has recorded multiple RBIs in a game.
Pollock owns a .309/.359/.535 slash line this season, his .895 OPS representing the highest of his career. He has been red-hot at the plate for the past five weeks, slashing .429/.467/.735 (1.202 OPS) with six homers, 17 RBIs and 16 runs scored in 26 games during that time.
“I think it's very clear he’s controlling the zone as well as we've seen him consistently,” Roberts said. “The result is a byproduct of that.”