NL West Notes: Betts, Marte, Stripling, Lee

Mookie Betts hasn’t played since suffering a bone bruise on his left foot on Thursday, though the superstar could be back in action as early as Monday when the Dodgers open a series against the Padres.  In the wake of the initial injury, the Dodgers put Betts through a battery of tests to ensure that his foot hadn’t incurred more serious damage, and Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register writes that Betts was walking normally around the L.A. clubhouse yesterday.

The club is naturally being as cautious as possible with the MVP candidate, as it is hard to imagine Los Angeles making a serious postseason run without Betts wreaking havoc in the lineup.  The league leader in fWAR (7.9), Betts is hitting .314/.411/.609 with 38 homers over 610 plate appearances, and his ability to play second base and shortstop has been crucial for a Dodgers team that has been beset by middle-infield injuries since Spring Training.  Fortunately, it looks like Betts will be able to resume his dream season in short order, with an eye towards then helping the Dodgers capture another World Series championship.

More from around the NL West…

  • The Diamondbacks had a pair of injury scares in yesterday’s 3-2 win over the Cubs, as Ketel Marte fouled a ball off his right knee and Jordan Lawlar was hit in the right hand with a pitch.  Marte’s knock occurred in the first inning and he remained in the game until the seventh, with postgame x-rays coming back negative.  Manager Torey Lovullo told reporters (including Theo Mackie of the Arizona Republic) that Marte might not miss any time as long as his knee didn’t have continued soreness overnight.  Lawlar’s HBP occurred in the 10th inning, so an update on his status won’t come until Lovullo meets with the media today.
  • A mid-back strain has kept Ross Stripling from any MLB action since August 16, but the Giants right-hander told Evan Webeck of the Bay Area News Group that he is healthy and ready to return from the injured list.  However, Stripling feels “in limbo” and like he’s on the “phantom IL” due to a roster crunch, according to his conversations with president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi and manager Gabe Kapler.  “It’s bad luck of the timing that I’m healthy and Farhan likes the roster that he has.  And I’m just sitting here healthy with nowhere to go,” Stripling said.  Juggling a number of arms on the pitching staff, San Francisco has used an opener-heavy strategy for the last couple of months, perhaps leaving Stripling without a clear role with everyone healthy.  Kapler said the Giants “actually have a pretty good plan in place to have [Stripling] back on the roster sooner rather than later,” but didn’t give any specifics about a timeline.  It could be that the team simply prefers its other pitching options, as Stripling has a 5.29 ERA over 78 1/3 innings while battling back problems for much of the season.
  • The Padres are “viewed as a strong candidate to sign” Jung Hoo Lee this winter, The Athletic’s Dennis Lin writes.  Lee has been posting excellent numbers over seven seasons in the KBO League, and only just turned 25 years old last month.  The outfielder’s 2023 season was prematurely ended due to ankle surgery, but Lee is still expected to be posted to MLB teams by the Kiwoom Heroes, his KBO club.  The Padres have traditionally been aggressive on the international market, and they might have an extra recruiting advantage since Ha-Seong Kim is a close friend of Lee’s and a former teammate with the Heroes.

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