New Dodgers Shortstop Mookie Betts Delivered Words Of Encouragement To Gavin Lux After Position Switch

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The Los Angeles Dodgers have less than one week remaining in Cactus League play but took action in response to Gavin Lux’s recent throwing woes by having Mookie Betts take over as their new shortstop moving forward.

Lux was shifted back to second base, where he has expressed not previously being fully comfortable at. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts described the position switch for Lux and Betts as “permanent, for now.”

Betts already was primed to play a new position this season with the Dodgers moving him to second base despite his Gold Glove pedigree in right field.

In now moving to shortstop to supplant Lux, Betts made sure to offer some encouragement about the overall goal remaining unchanged despite the two flipping positions, per Jack Harris of the L.A. Times:

“I called him and said, ‘Bro, nothing’s changed, other than your view to home plate,’” Betts said of what he told Lux about the defensive change. “We’re still up the middle together. We still are doing this thing together. So it doesn’t really matter. We’re going to the same place. We have the same goal in mind. I don’t think anybody cares how we get there.”

When previously discussing being part of the new Dodgers’ middle infield alignment, Betts said he was confident chemistry with Lux would be quickly developed because of their strong friendship.

Betts played 16 games (12 starts) at shortstop last season. That required some convincing of Roberts and the front office as the Dodgers were in search of an answer at shortstop in the wake of losing Lux to a knee injury last spring and backup options struggling to produce.

For Lux, he misses out on yet another opportunity to play shortstop at the Major League level on a full-time basis. The bulk of his experience at the position came in 2021, when Lux played 59 games (50 starts) as the Dodgers’ shortstop.

Scouting report: new Dodgers shortstop Mookie Betts

In 98 innings at shortstop last season, Betts was neutral in terms of defensive runs saved, -1 in ultimate zone rating and -2 for outs above average. He made spectacular plays at times and most converted routine opportunities while navigating the learning curve.

Some of that may still apply for 2024 due to Betts spending the offseason preparing to play second base. But he has the athletic ability and talent to at least be league average in the new role as Dodgers shortstop even if some of the growing pains surface early in the season.

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