Betts, Ohtani and Freeman make for an impressive trio at the top of the Dodgers' batting order

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Los Angeles Dodgers' Shohei Ohtani, center, with interpreter Ippei Mizuhara, left, talks with coach Dino Ebel, right, during spring training baseball workouts at Camelback Ranch in Phoenix, Sunday, March 3, 2024. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

GLENDALE, Ariz. – With Mookie Betts, Shohei Ohtani and Freddie Freeman, the Los Angeles Dodgers have quite a trio at the top of their batting order.

That's a tough start for any pitcher.

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Betts and Ohtani each had three hits and Freeman drove in two runs during Sunday's spring training game against the Colorado Rockies. Betts is 7 for 17 so far this spring, and Ohtani is 5 for 7 in limited action.

Betts and Freeman are beginning their third season together in LA, and Ohtani joined the two stars when he agreed to a $700 million, 10-year contract with the Dodgers in December. Ohtani won't pitch this season while he recovers from major elbow surgery, but it sure looks as if the rest of his game is rounding into form.

Ohtani singled and scored on Will Smith's sacrifice fly in the first inning against the Rockies. The two-time AL MVP drove in Betts with a stand-up triple in the second. It looked as if he thought his drive off the wall in center was going to be a home run. Ohtani started off in a jog before hustling into third when he realized the ball was in play.

He added an RBI single in the third before he was replaced by a pinch runner.

The Dodgers' next spring training game is Tuesday against the Angels, Ohtani's old team.


Chris Sale is looking pretty good in his first spring training with the Atlanta Braves.

The lanky left-hander struck out five in 2 2/3 scoreless innings in Atlanta's 3-2 win over Philadelphia in Florida. He allowed three hits — all singles — walked two and hit a batter.

Sale pitched two hitless innings in his spring debut against Pittsburgh on Tuesday.

The 34-year-old Sale has been one of the majors' most dominant pitchers when he is healthy, but he has struggled with injuries over the years. He was acquired in a December trade with Boston.

He went 6-5 with a 4.30 ERA in 20 starts in his last year with the Red Sox.


Detroit pitchers Matt Manning and Casey Mize continued their comebacks from injuries against the Yankees.

Manning started and allowed one hit — Juan Soto's 405-foot solo homer. The right-hander struck out four over three innings in his second outing.

“I had a conviction and command of all my pitches, and got a lot of swings and misses, a lot of strikes, kept them off balance,” Manning said.

Manning’s season was cut short in September when he was hit by a 119.5 mph comebacker off the bat of the Yankees’ Giancarlo Stanton, breaking his right foot.

The 26-year-old Manning, who went 5-4 with a 3.58 ERA in 15 starts in 2023, also missed 2 1/2 months after being hit on the foot by a comebacker off the bat of Toronto catcher Alejandro Kirk.

“Obviously, it was super unlucky to get hurt twice in the same way,” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said. “But he started to blossom a little bit, you know. He needs innings. He’s still very young, but talented.”

Mize gave up one hit and walked two in two scoreless innings in Tampa, Florida. He threw 19 of 38 pitches for strikes.

The 26-year-old Mize is coming back from Tommy John and back surgeries. He was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 amateur draft.

“My body is moving a lot better,” Mize said. “I’m moving quicker, I feel really explosive. I just need to hone that in.”


Fernando Tatis Jr. hit his first Cactus League homer for San Diego, connecting for a two-run shot against Seattle right-hander Luis Castillo in the third inning. Ha-Seong Kim and Luis Campusano also went deep in the Padres' 12-4 victory in Peoria, Arizona.

Tatis' drive to left also was his first hit of spring training this year. He is 1 for 11 in six games.



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