WASHINGTON — Secure from red alert.
“It’s just a bruise,” Mookie Betts said Saturday afternoon. “Bruises hurt, for sure. But it’s just a bruise.”
The Dodgers can breathe a sigh of relief that it is just a bone bruise. Betts injured his left foot Thursday night when he fouled a ball off it during his first at-bat against the Miami Marlins. He stayed in the game and reached base four times but eventually asked out as the Dodgers built a 10-0 lead.
“It just kind of progressively got worse throughout the game,” Betts said Saturday. “Towards the end, we got a big enough lead and I just asked, could I get off of it. It really blew up when I took my shoe off, the swelling and stuff. The adrenaline kind of calmed down, the swelling and stuff kind of went, too. It just hurt really bad.”
Betts had X-rays after the game Thursday, which were negative, but the Dodgers sent him for an MRI and CT scan Friday to make sure there was no structural damage to his foot. The diagnosis was a bone bruise and Betts was walking around the Dodgers’ clubhouse without any difficulty and downplaying the concern Saturday.
“I wasn’t concerned to get the scans and all those things. But the guys gotta do their protocol,” he said. “Just fouled a ball off my foot. That’s the beginning and the end of the story.”
Betts said he would start to “move around” Saturday and “get all that going” to test his foot. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said he didn’t expect Betts to play before Monday at the earliest.
“But if he comes out of today fine and I hear from him and the training staff that he’s good to go, then obviously we can change,” Roberts said. “But for me, I’m just taking it day to day and we’ll see how he comes out of it.”
With three weeks left in the season and a division title all but clinched, the Dodgers’ biggest worry is losing a key player like Betts to a serious injury, much like with Max Muncy’s season-ending elbow injury in the regular-season finale two years ago.
“It’s in there and I’ve got to fight those thoughts every day,” Roberts said. “These guys are designed and want to play and compete. I remember in (2021) … when Muncy, the last game of the season, that collision. Things are going to happen. Somebody’s got to play. Certainly there’s a lot of coaches and managers in that spot. But you can’t let that bleed into decision-making. I just don’t believe that.”
Neither does Betts.
“No, you can’t play like that,” he said. “You can’t go about life living, worrying about stuff like that.”
Betts has something besides a division title to play for down the stretch. After roaring to the front of the MVP talk with a torrid August, Betts has slipped back behind Atlanta’s Ronald Acuna Jr. with a 4-for-18 start to September.
“It’s kind of hard to not be on my mind. It’s being brought up all the time. It’s kind of hard to not know about it,” Betts said. “But that’s a cool, super-dope thing. I’m really not that concerned. That’s the future. I don’t know what’s going to happen then. One thing I want to make sure is that I’m healthy enough to help the guys to get to the World Series and hopefully bring one home.”
The Dodgers have not named a starting pitcher for Sunday’s game, but Roberts said left-hander Ryan Yarbrough will pitch in a multi-inning role. Yarbrough might start or he might follow an opener. …
Veteran reliever Joe Kelly gave up one hit in a scoreless inning for Class-A Rancho Cucamonga on Friday in his first rehab appearance. Kelly is scheduled to pitch again Sunday for the Quakes and then rejoin the Dodgers in L.A. He is on track to come off the injured list on Wednesday, according to Roberts.
Dodgers (TBA) at Nationals (RHP Trevor Williams, 6-9, 5.21 ERA), 10:35 a.m. Sunday, SportsNet LA, 570 AM
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