The Los Angeles Dodgers began the week with multiple roster decisions on the horizon. The first came Tuesday, with Franklin Gutierrez ready to come off the disabled list. Scott Van Slyke was optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City, leaving Cody Bellinger to fight another day.
After exclusively playing left field since joining the Dodgers, Bellinger made his first start at first base. He went 2-for-4 with a three-run triple that tied the game in the second inning.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts had previously indicated Bellinger would likely return to Oklahoma City on Friday, assuming Joc Pederson is reinstated from the disabled list. Bellinger’s play has made that proposition no easy task.
“Cody’s played well offensively and defensively,” Roberts said following his club’s rout of the San Francisco Giants. “There’s definitely a spark he’s contributed to our club.
“Cody’s done everything he can to show he’s warrants a continued opportunity. A lot can happen between now and Friday.”
Through eight games, Bellinger is batting .345/.406/.655 with one double, one triple, two home runs and five RBI. After Monday’s game, Roberts praised Bellinger for his instincts and noted the strides the 21-year-old had already made in one week’s time in the Majors.
If not Bellinger, the Dodgers could option Andrew Toles in a corresponding move to adding Pederson to their active roster. But Toles has seemingly turned the corner after a poor start.
A solution could be found in putting Adrian Gonzalez on the disabled list. He’s dogged by lingering elbow and neck/back trouble, which has made a considerable impact on Gonzalez’s swing and production.
However, the 14-year veteran has never been placed on the DL in his career. Roberts implied the Dodgers would not make such a decision with gaining approval from Gonzalez.
No matter what lies ahead for Bellinger, he’s focused on contributing whenever in the lineup. “I haven’t been told anything (about Friday),” Bellinger said. “I’m just going to put that in the back of my mind and play the game I know I can.”
The impact has not been lost on Roberts. “It seems like every time he takes the field he does something to help you win,” he said.
“That’s the mark of a winning player.”