Dodgers star Mookie Betts suffers broken left hand when hit by a pitch

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Dodgers shortstop Mookie Betts broke his left hand when he was hit by a pitch during the seventh inning of Sunday's game against the Kansas City Royals.

The former MVP and seven-time All-Star was drilled in the hand by a 97.9 mph fastball from Dan Altavilla and fell to the ground, writhing in extreme pain. Manager Dave Roberts didn’t know how much time Betts would miss but said the injury would not require surgery.

Betts made an appearance in the clubhouse after the Dodgers' 3-0 victory with his left hand wrapped. He will see Dr. Steven Shin, a hand specialist, on Monday.

“I think that’s the first time I got hit in the hand so I wasn’t sure. I just went numb and it hurt,” Betts said when asked if he knew immediately the hand was broken. “Unfortunately, it’s broke. There’s (nothing) we can really do now.

“Just kind of up and in. I was holding my ground. Unfortunately, it hit me in the hand.”

Betts went 0 for 3 Sunday to drop his batting average to .304, ninth in the majors. He was fourth in on-base percentage (.405) and tied for fifth in hits (86).

“It’s a big blow. I feel bad for Mookie because he’s having an MVP-type season,” Roberts said.

The pitch hit Betts at the top of the hand, and trainers and Roberts quickly raced out of the dugout to tend to him. Those watching on television and in the lower deck at Dodger Stadium could clearly hear the ball making contact with Betts' hand.

“You never want your guys to get hit. But just by his reaction, I felt that this was different,” Roberts said.

Altavilla told he was trying to go inside but that the fastball “slipped arm-side” and that there was “absolutely no intent.”

“We’re trying to get Dan some innings and see how he can do here. It’s very unfortunate. I mean, I feel terribly,” Royals manager Matt Quatraro said. “No one wants to see that, especially to a guy like Mookie, who we all revere for his professionalism and what he means to the game.”

Miguel Rojas will take over as the Dodgers' starting shortstop with Kiké Hernández also getting time at the position.

Roberts said he would likely move Shohei Ohtani into the leadoff spot.

“It’s very tough to see. He’s obviously a very important part of the team,” Ohtani said through an interpreter. “It’s really up to the rest of the team to pick him up.”

Despite taking two of three from the Royals, it was a tough weekend for the Dodgers, who are 44-29 and have an eight-game lead over San Diego in the NL West.

Right-hander Yoshinobu Yamamoto was placed on the 15-day injured list before the game with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder.

“Honestly we’ve gone through this so much and teams go through this all the time,” Roberts said. “That’s part of baseball. You’ve got to move forward and guys know there are going to get opportunities and have to play well.”

This will be Betts' first stint on the injured list in two years. He missed nearly three weeks in June 2022 with a cracked right rib.

“Obviously, I’ll be watching the boys, cheering them on, but other than that, it’s just rest, maybe use it as a mental break, be ready to go whenever it heals up,” Betts said.