Veteran Miguel Rojas Could Retain Dodgers Shortstop Role Amid Mookie Betts’ Return

Key Takeaways:
– 35-year-old infielder Miguel Rojas has shone in the shortstop position for the Dodgers, taking over from Mookie Betts.
– Despite Betts’ return, Dodgers’ manager Dave Roberts is willing to keep Rojas in place considering his impressive performances.
– The team could repurpose Betts to second base, where Gavin Lux is underperforming, or reestablish him in the right field.

The Los Angeles Dodgers’ veteran infielder, Miguel Rojas, has stepped up to the plate, literally, and knocked it out of the park. The 35-year-old has not only filled the gap left by star shortstop Mookie Betts’ injury-disrupted season but thrived in it, sparking a debate about where he and Betts fit in the Dodgers’ future plans.

Rojas Fills Betts’ Shoes Impressively

With Betts nursing a broken hand, Rojas was the next man up. Not only did he rise to the occasion, but he also excelled. In his first game replacing Betts, the seasoned infielder recorded three hits in five at-bats, including a double, scoring twice and recording an RBI during a 9-5 victory over Colorado.

But Rojas kept it going way beyond that debut outing. Across 11 games, he has sustained a commendable batting average of .350, an on-base percentage of .386, and a slugging percentage of .450. His defensive prowess at short has remained top-notch, matching his offensive surge, much to the delight of the Dodgers’ camp.

Could Rojas Retain Shortstop Role?

Given Rojas’ splendid run and the positive impact on the Dodgers’ victory patches (8-2 in games he’s started since Betts went down), it raises an intriguing query. If Rojas can maintain this upward trajectory, could he retain the shortstop role even with a fit Betts? On this question, Dodgers’ manager Dave Roberts had a straightforward answer.

“I would, I would; nobody can debate Miguel Rojas’ level of shortstop play. Of course, much will depend on Mookie’s return timeline, and how Miggy is holding up physically. But the consideration stands,” Roberts said.

Second Base or Right Field for Betts?

With Rojas potentially securing his place at shortstop, this opens up other possibilities for the Dodgers, especially around Betts’ game-time contribution. Lux’s woes at second base, coupled with a rather weak outfield trio, could see Betts shift around the field to bolster the team. Betts, who has excelled in right field in the past, could step in there or cover second base if Rojas’ sizzling form continues.

Rojas’ Long-Term Performance a Concern

Notwithstanding Rojas’ career batting average of .259 and a bit of struggle in his last two seasons, as long as he continues outperforming Lux and delivering high-level shortstop play, keeping him on and using Betts at second base does seem a promising strategy.

However, Dave Roberts flags Rojas’ aggressive style of play as a concern, given his age. To adequately manage his playing time and avoid overuse, Roberts plans to give Rojas some days off, focusing on the more extended campaign.

“He’s been phenomenal offensively and defensively this year. I appreciate the energy he brings every night. But I have to balance his playing time, considering his age and previous soft-tissue issues. He can argue to play every day, and I respect that, but resting him sometimes will undoubtedly benefit him and us in the long run,” Roberts concluded.

 

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