The Los Angeles Dodgers were coming out of an off day heading into the opener of the Freeway Series, but Cody Bellinger still found himself on the bench due to the L.A. Angels starting left-hander Patrick Sandoval.
“We have a lot of good players. In the near term I see Cody playing against right-handers. We’ve got a lot of very good options to play against lefties,” explained Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, effectively confirming Bellinger now is going to be platooned.
“Our encouragement is to get him right with his mechanics and strengthen the arm. But every single night there’s going to be a great player that’s not getting a start. That’s just kind of where we’re at. I’ll divvy up playing time with workload.
“Right now, where we’re at on the schedule, we have to win baseball games. We’re four games back in the loss column and we’ve got to win. Every single night, with respect to workload and workload management, I need to put the best guys out there that I feel can win a ballgame that night.”
Roberts previously opined that Bellinger was still feeling the effects of offseason shoulder surgery. “He’s grinding. He’s been grinding,” Roberts said.
“It’s been a difficult time for him trying to perform at this level and still trying to get that front shoulder strength when you’re recovering from a surgery. Dodger fans know, whether it’s Adrian Gonzalez having to go through that, Matt Kemp going through that same type of thing, that first year out is tough.
“Cody’s going through it.
Albeit in some part due to missing significant time because of a hairline fracture in his left fibula and another stretch on the 10-day injured list due to left hamstring tightness, Bellinger has career-lows in several categories, including batting average (.168), on-base plus slugging percentage (.557) and extra-base hits (10).
“I see continued fight, continued work, consistent work. I think the results will show,” Roberts said. “We’ve just got to continue to keep getting his work, keep strengthening the shoulder and expect good things to happen.”
Who will Bellinger platoon with?
The arrival of Trea Turner further deepens the Dodgers’ position player group and the domino effect impacts Bellinger in that it pushes Chris Taylor to the outfield. Thus, Bellinger presumably will be utilized to spell any of Mookie Betts, AJ Pollock or Taylor.
Of course, that could quickly change if Betts continues to deal with more right hip trouble.
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