Dodgers can be patient after Mookie Betts injury update

Adam Weinrib
OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 06: Mookie Betts #50 of the Los Angeles Dodgers is safe at second base as Elvis Andrus #17 of the Oakland Athletics was unable to secure the ball int the top of the fourth inning at RingCentral Coliseum on April 06, 2021 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 06: Mookie Betts #50 of the Los Angeles Dodgers is safe at second base as Elvis Andrus #17 of the Oakland Athletics was unable to secure the ball int the top of the fourth inning at RingCentral Coliseum on April 06, 2021 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images) /
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The 5-2 Los Angeles Dodgers have sprinted to the front of the pack in the days since their Opening Day debacle, showing off their awesome power to withstand injuries in the process.

In the season’s first week, Chris Taylor, Cody Bellinger, and now Mookie Betts have all succumbed to overuse and accidents, missing action without the team skipping a beat.

Word on Bellinger is somewhat nebulous and bleak, but the explanation for Betts’ absence incurred the least-worrisome version of a waiting game ahead of Friday’s home opener.

He missed Wednesday’s action with back stiffness, which could theoretically spiral if LA’s not careful. Luckily, they can be as cautious as possible.

After a tough late-inning loss to the Oakland A’s (now 1-6!), Dave Roberts addressed Betts’ absence, and calmly declared he expects him to play in the home opener.

If that’s the case, fantastic! If something doesn’t feel right, though, the Dodgers should have no problem scrapping those plans, which the last week of domination should’ve proved to even the most skittish fan.

The Dodgers can afford to rest Mookie Betts.

It’s unfair to equate the regular season to exhibition work for this out-of-this-world Dodgers team, but…well…we’ll allow you to fill in the gaps.

As much as every April loss stings and feels like wasted time, this team’s concern is all about being in a better place to defend their title in the fall. For a potential cautionary tale, fans need only look within the division, as the San Diego Padres might be weaving a woeful story about pushing a superstar too far.

After building up an offseason-winning rotation and extending Fernando Tatis Jr. with an unheard-of preemptive sum, the team is already dealing with a potential injury disaster with their newly-minted superstar. As of now, Tatis Jr. plans to avoid surgery on his shoulder subluxation, and even intends to play the Dodgers next week. San Diego’s margin for error is much smaller than LA’s, and without Tatis Jr., they have little chance of challenging for the NL West crown.

But that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to tempt the Gods and shrug in surgery’s general direction.

Betts’ back (and Bellinger’s calf, and Taylor’s numbness) aren’t quite in the same injury league, but if rest is prescribed, there’s no reason for the Dodgers to try to jumpstart a body that shouldn’t move.

This season’s about updating championship murals, not winning April homestands.

Betts’ back could be back in action on Friday, and we wouldn’t bat an eye.

But he’ll be there for the home opener either way, getting the fan adoration he’s owed after leading the way in a legacy-shifting postseason.

If he needs another few days, the Dodgers have that luxury.

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