WBC Teammate Credits Ex-Red Sox Mookie Betts For Infield Help

'Mookie the goat, man'

Former Boston Red Sox star outfielder Mookie Betts is making a difference beyond his personal contributions for Team USA at the 2023 World Baseball Classic.

United States teammate Tim Anderson starts at shortstop for the Chicago White Sox. But with Trea Turner having that covered on a stacked USA roster, manager Mark DeRosa played Anderson at second base — a position shift that posed an unfamiliar challenge and one that Anderson partially credited Betts with helping ease the transition.

“I’ve been working with everybody,” Anderson said before Tuesday’s WBC championship game at LoanDepot Park, per MLB Network video. “And I’ve been taking a little bit of information from Trea, I’ve been taking a little bit of information from Jeff (McNeil). And Mookie, Mookie. Mookie the goat, man. Mookie the goat. Yeah, he been giving me a lot of information. So it’s just very cool to be around a lot of different guys.”

Betts, who initially played second base during his minor league days with the Red Sox, underwent a positional transition himself. Yet, despite growing into one of the MLB’s best right fielders, Betts has occasionally defended the infield dirt, playing 30 career games at second base with the Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers.

Betts’ fielding percentage over the course of 109 defensive chances at second base currently stands at .972%, which is his lowest among all positions played through his nine-year career.

Meanwhile, Anderson has looked the part, defending like a natural second baseman throughout the WBC. Yet, unlike Betts, Anderson has never played a big league game at second base. But after watching his defensive versatility on full display, perhaps White Sox manager Pedro Grifol will make note of that before the start of the 2023 season.

Anderson and Team USA took the field against Team Japan Tuesday night in a battle for the WBC crown.