Mookie Betts activated from paternity list, enters game at shortstop

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Friday, April 21, 2023

CHICAGO -- The Los Angeles Dodgers activated outfielder Mookie Betts from the paternity list Thursday and recalled right-hander Andre Jackson from Triple-A Oklahoma City.

Right-hander Evan Phillips was placed on the paternity list, and infielder Yonny Hernández was optioned to the team's top farm club.

Betts' wife gave birth to their second child Tuesday. He missed two games before rejoining the Dodgers ahead of a four-game series against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.

With infielders Miguel Rojas and Chris Taylor hampered by injuries, manager Dave Roberts put Betts at shortstop after he reached on a pinch-hit single in the top of the seventh of the 6-2 win. It was the first career appearance at the position for the 30-year-old Betts, a six-time Gold Glove winner in right field.

Betts finished the game 1-for-2.

Luke Williams started at shortstop for Los Angeles. Williams was promoted Tuesday and made his third career start at shortstop in a 5-3 loss to the New York Mets on Wednesday.

Michael Grove was on the mound for Los Angeles, but the 26-year-old right-hander departed in the fourth inning with a right groin strain.

Taylor left Monday night's game against New York in the eighth with soreness in his left side. He got into Wednesday's game as a pinch runner.

Taylor tested his left side on the field before Thursday's matchup with the Cubs.

"Just not kind of sure when we're going to get him a start, but it's coming," Roberts said, "and he's getting a little anxious, which is a good thing."

Rojas went on the 10-day injured list on Wednesday with a left hamstring strain. He is with the team in Chicago and will start doing some "baseball-specific stuff" in the next few days, according to Roberts.

Gavin Lux was expected to be the team's starting shortstop this year, but he is out for the season after hurting his right knee during spring training.

Los Angeles also is playing without catcher Will Smith, who was placed on the seven-day concussion IL on Sunday. Roberts said he is hoping to get Smith back at some point during the team's next series at Pittsburgh.

"Each passing day gets a little bit better," Roberts said.

The series opener against Chicago marked Jason Heyward's first game at Wrigley since he was released by the Cubs in November. The 33-year-old outfielder signed a minor league deal with the Dodgers in December.

Heyward spent seven seasons in Chicago, helping the Cubs win the 2016 World Series for the franchise's first title since 1908. He is expected to start Saturday and Sunday.

The Cubs showed a pregame video with highlights of Heyward's time in Chicago and his community service work. The crowd responded with a warm round of cheers, and Heyward popped out of the dugout, patted his heart and held his left arm in the air to acknowledge the reception.

"It's always fun to come to Wrigley," said Heyward, who hit .245 with 62 homers for Chicago after signing a $184 million, eight-year contract before the 2016 season. "It's a baseball spot. It's historic. Good to see it. Only thing I wish we would see is the ivy in, but I know that's like a couple months away. But still good to be here."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.