Hours before the Los Angeles Dodgers could revel in the thrill of Joc Pederson hitting his first career walk-off home run, they endured a scare when Cody Bellinger took a 96 mph fastball from Cincinnati Reds starter Luis Castillo off his right knee.
Bellinger immediately dropped to the ground in pain and was slow to rise to his feet. He hobbled around home plate while being checked on by Dodgers manager Dave Roberts and a trainer before making his way down to first base.
Although he remained in the game, Bellinger clearly was still feeling the effects of being hit by a pitch. He spent the rest of the third inning trying to walk off lingering pain in between pitches to A.J. Pollock and Max Muncy.
When Muncy struck out to end the third, Bellinger limped back to the dugout and was promptly replaced by Alex Verdugo.
Bellinger explained his initial attempt to continue playing and why he feels fortunate despite the injury scare, via SportsNet LA:
“It definitely hurt. It hit in a good spot, it could’ve been a lot worse. I’ll wake up [Tuesday] and see how I feel, but definitely lucky there wasn’t anything seriously broken or hurt. … It was one of those where I was walking to first and I knew it wasn’t broken, because I could walk. And maybe it was one of those things where you could walk it off and it would go away, but once the inning ended, it just wasn’t worth it. We both decided it was alright to come out of the game and get some treatment on it.”
A player coming out due to apparent injury is typically accompanied by some update after preliminary examination or testing is completed. That was not the case Monday night, however, which lent to some concern.
Roberts quelled some of that during his postgame press conference when he relayed X-rays on Bellinger’s knee came back negative. Though like the young outfielder, Roberts was not yet certain of availability for Tuesday or the days ahead.
The Dodgers began a stretch of 20 games in 21 days on April 1, with the lone off day during that time coming April 4. Including Tuesday, they have six consecutive games remaining before a break in the schedule.