Dodgers ‘Ideally’ Will Have Cody Bellinger Primarily Play Right Field Instead Of First Base Because Of Dislocated Shoulder
Cody Bellinger
Richard Mackson/USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Dodgers endured a bit of a scare last weekend when Cody Bellinger dove for a ball hit to his right at first base and was slow to get up. Bellinger was grabbing at his right shoulder as Dodgers manager Dave Roberts and a trainer came from the dugout to check on him.

Bellinger had a grimace on his face as he detailed what happened but that changed to a smile as he remained in the game. Following the Dodgers’ comeback win against the San Diego Padres, Roberts revealed Bellinger’s right shoulder dislocated but popped back into place.

It was an injury he’d previously dealt with, including last season, but the level of concern was minimal. Roberts initially expected Bellinger to be in the lineup as the series at Petco Park continued, but soreness prevented him from starting until Monday.

Upon returning, Bellinger was back in right field, which Roberts explained the Dodgers intend to keep him as a preventative measure, via SportsNet LA:

“We just tried to be really cautious with him, especially when you have a recurring shoulder issue (with it) coming out of the socket; it’s happened a couple times. But right now, from the training staff and Cody, he feels good. I do think going forward, him being in the outfield makes the most sense instead of having him be at first base. The potential dive, [throw] over his head, getting it from the infielder. We’ll see how that goes as time goes on. … In talking to the training staff, the likelihood that he potenitally could dive for a ball to his right, which could increase the chance (of re-injury), versus diving for a ball in the outfield, which is less likely. To say he’s not going to play [first base] is probably a little too aggressive. I think ideally we’ll try to keep him in the outfield.”

Part of Bellinger avoiding serious injury was attributed to a shoulder strengthening program the Dodgers have set in place. “If he hadn’t been on, I would’ve hate to have seen what could’ve happened,” Roberts said over the weekend. “I like to think we’ve got it under control.”

Including the series opener against the Atlanta Braves, 23 of Bellinger’s 33 starts this season have come in right field. After spending the bulk of 2017 and 2018 playing first base, the Dodgers shifted course with their young slugger as means to also having Max Muncy in the lineup.

As a whole, the Dodgers have shifted toward having more regulars in their lineups as opposed to being so reliant on platoons as they were last season.