Cody Bellinger was a late participant in Spring Training due to recovering from offseason shoulder surgery, then he only appeared in four games before sustaining what ultimately was discovered to be a hairline fracture in his left shin.
Bellinger spent six weeks on the 10-day injured list and played in 15 games before being sidelined once again because of left hamstring tightness. Bellinger has remained optimistic, and on Saturday hit a home run to give the Los Angeles Dodgers their first walk-off win of the season.
“I knew I hit it well,” Bellinger said after the 3-2 win over the Chicago Cubs. “But I haven’t hit too many this year, so I didn’t know for sure. But I knew it was my best ball of the year, for sure.”
Even with the dramatic home run, Bellinger is a mere 2-for-9 but has drawn five walks in four games (three starts) since returning from the hamstring injury. Considering the two IL stints, working to find a rhythm at the plate remains an ongoing process for the 2019 National League MVP.
“I think it always takes a little bit of time to get the feel of a big league stadium with fans, big league pitching,” he said. “It always takes a little bit of time.”
The walk-off home run was the third of Bellinger’s career and came with more excitement given Dodger Stadium is now back to full capacity. “It feels great, man. It’s so good to have them back,” he said.
“It feels good to have them back and a lot better with them in the stands. Way better.”
Bellinger not searching
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts has continued to express confidence Bellinger will find his swing and in the meantime is logging quality at-bats to go along with playing stellar defense in center field.
Bellinger echoed that and in a positive sign for the Dodgers, indicated he’s feeling comfortable. “I knew my swing was where it needed to be and if I could just get a pitch to drive, I was confident in it,” he said.
“I would say so. I’m not, like, searching for a big moment, you know? Just playing the game. If you’re in those moments, then you’re in that moment and you want to perform and succeed to help the team win.”
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