Mookie Betts Likely Remaining Leadoff Hitter, But Top Of Dodgers Lineup Order Not Yet Unveiled

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One domino effect to signing Shohei Ohtani is the Los Angeles Dodgers lineup, which excelled over the past two seasons with Mookie Betts batting leadoff and Freddie Freeman slotted second.

Although Ohtani has yet to make his Dodgers debut in Cactus League play, which should occur next week, the batting order has been a frequent topic of discussion since the two-time American League MVP joined the organization in December.

Betts was in the leadoff spot of the Dodgers lineup for their Cactus League opener and Freeman hit second on Friday, but manager Dave Roberts cautioned that was largely a matter of circumstance for his first baseman.

“Definitely don’t read too much into it,” Roberts said. “Nothing against (Miguel) Rojas, but I’ve also got him leading off. So I think we’ll just see how it is. I want to get guys at-bats. [Freeman] is obviously going to be hitting second or third, so we’ll see.”

The Dodgers made a change in the summer months of 2022 to have Trea Turner hitting behind Betts, which dropped Freeman to third. It was an order Roberts settled on after discussing the matter with the three players involved. Prior to that, Turner had been the Dodgers’ leadoff hitter because Betts missed multiple weeks with a fractured rib.

With the top of the Dodgers lineup a talking point once again, Roberts has held conversations with Betts, Freeman and Ohtani.

“I talked to each guy and we feel good where we’re going to be going forward,” said Roberts, who otherwise declined to provide specifics on the expected lineup order for the regular season.

Mookie Betts expected Dodgers’ leadoff hitter

When further pressed on the top of the lineup order, Roberts was willing to commit to Betts likely remaining in his role as leadoff hitter for the Dodgers.

“The safe bet I’ll give you is Mookie is going to hit leadoff. That’s a really safe bet,” Roberts said.

That’s a spot Betts historically has preferred throughout his career, but last season said it no longer was a concern and he would hit wherever was most beneficial for the Dodgers.

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