Now that’s the Mookie Betts everyone has come to expect.
The Los Angeles Dodgers star made a fabulously smooth defensive play in right field against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on Thursday — after leading off the game with a home run — to show that he’s still among the most complete players in Major League Baseball.
In the bottom of the second inning, Betts made a fine, running shoestring catch of Ka’ai Tom’s sinking liner to right and, after spinning like a ballet dancer, fired home on one hop to retire Erik Gonzalez, who was tagging up.
Here’s video of the YouTube broadcast:
Goodness, what a play. How was he so accurate? It was a close play, but if you slow down the replay, he was out by a good six inches. Great call by umpire Dan Iassogna.
It was Mookie’s first assist of the season and just his second over the past two seasons from the outfield. He came in with 51 career assists from the outfield, including 36 from right field. More than one observer has noted how he looked a little like Roberto Clemente out there while playing in Clemente’s city and in the shadow of a bridge named for the Pirates all-time great right fielder.
Betts also has been hitting below his own standards, coming in with a .250/.361/.431 slash line with five homers and five steals. In his eighth season, Betts has been banged up — in and out of the lineup for brief periods — with nagging aches and pains.
So, to answer any questions about his bat, Betts led off the game with a solo homer. He’s fine, folks! Mookie Betts is just fine.