Baseball is an unfortunate sport sometimes. Sunday afternoon was one of those times for Mookie Betts and the Los Angeles Dodgers. Betts exited LA's 3-0 win over the Kansas City Royals on Sunday after getting hit by a pitch in the hand.

Although he doesn’t need surgery, Betts' left hand is fractured. The Dodgers do not expect the injury to be season-ending but there is no firm timetable on his return.

It's been nearly two years since Betts was last on the injured list with a fractured rib. He faces a lengthy recovery.

“I think that's the first time I got hit in the hand so I wasn't sure,” Betts said, per the Associated Press. “I just went numb and it hurt. Unfortunately, it's broke. There's [nothing] we can really do now.”

Betts is among the frontrunners for National League MVP but this injury probably takes him out of the running. He's building off a brilliant 2023 season with another strong showing in 2024. Betts ranks in the top 10 in the NL in bWAR, batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, OPS, hits, runs and total bases.

He and Shohei Ohtani are a treat to watch every night with one of them doing something extraordinary at the plate almost daily. Betts deserves major props for doing it in a new position as well. Even if his fielding isn’t spectacular at short, the Dodgers are living with the results as Betts tears the cover off the ball.

Who replaces Mookie Betts as the leadoff hitter in the Dodgers' lineup is an interesting dilemma. Manager Dave Roberts has no shortage of options though.

Dodgers prepare for life without Mookie Betts

Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Mookie Betts (50) reacts after being hit by pitch from Kansas City Royals pitcher Dan Altavilla (54) during the seventh inning at Dodger Stadium.
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

It's impossible to replace a player like Mookie Betts. Few MLB players can match the energy and talent he brings to the table. The Dodgers face no other choice but to plug the massive hole that Betts' absence leaves.

It's an unlucky break for the Dodgers but one they can overcome. LA will certainly miss Betts's production in the lineup but maybe this will allow the Dodgers to try players at different positions. This could also signal a more aggressive approach to the trade market.

The Dodgers recently acquired Cavan Biggio and are rumored to be interested in more infielders. Trading for a shortstop is not out of the question and LA has never been shy to make a significant in-season move.

Such a trade could cause a clog on the roster once Betts recovers, but there is always the option of moving him back to the outfield. The Dodgers haven’t gotten a ton of production from their outfielders besides Teoscar Hernandez. If another infielder can become valuable, it would allow LA to be more flexible with Betts.

While the Dodgers forge on, Betts will be on outside keeping a close eye on his ballclub.

“I’ll be watching the boys and cheering them on,” Betts said, via The Athletic. “Other than that, just kind of rest, maybe use it as a mental break and be ready to go whenever it heals up.”

LA enters Monday's action with a 44-29 record and an eight-game lead in the NL West.