Dodgers’ Mookie Betts heading to injured list with cracked rib as the injuries mount for Los Angeles

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After being scratched from Friday’s and Saturday’s lineup with rib soreness, Los Angeles Dodgers star right fielder Mookie Betts will on Sunday be placed on the injured list with a cracked rib, manager Dave Roberts told reporters following Saturday’s win over the Cleveland Guardians (LA 7, CLE 1). It’s unclear how long Betts will be sidelined.

“Mookie was getting ready to prepare for the game today, this morning, and couldn’t quite loosen up,” Roberts said Saturday (video). “We ended up obviously scratching him from the lineup and he ended up getting some imaging and an MRI scan, and it revealed a cracked rib. He’s going to go on the IL tomorrow and the time to return is basically TBD.”

The injury can be traced back to Wednesday’s game against the Los Angeles Angels, when Betts collided with center fielder Cody Bellinger on a Taylor Ward fly ball in the first inning. Betts stayed in and played the rest of the game. The Dodgers had an off-day Thursday before Betts was scratched Friday and Saturday.

Betts underwent X-rays Friday that did not reveal the fracture. It wasn’t until the MRI scan Saturday that the fracture was discovered, indicating it’s more likely a hairline fracture than a large break. Either way, he will miss at least 10 days, and potentially much longer depending on the severity of the fracture.

The Dodgers are already without their best starting pitcher (Walker Buehler) and best reliever (Blake Treinen) for most, if not all of the rest of the season. Losing arguably their best all-around position player for any length of time could be devastating. Los Angeles is 7-10 in its past 17 games and has fallen into a virtual tie atop the NL West with the San Diego Padres.

Chris Taylor already plays left field just about every game, so he’s not really a candidate to play right field while Betts is sidelined. All that does is shift the lineup hole to another position. Journeyman utility man Eddy Alvarez started in right field Saturday and figures to share time at the position with Hanser Alberto and Zach McKinstry moving forward.

Betts, 29, is hitting .273/.349/.535 with 17 home runs this season. He is in the second year of his 12-year, $365 million extension.

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