The Los Angeles Dodgers have inched closer to full health over the past two weeks, with several key contributors returning from lengthy stints on the 10-day injured list.
The group includes Cody Bellinger, who missed nearly two months while recovering from a hairline fracture in his left fibula. Bellinger has appeared in 11 games since rejoining the Dodgers at the end of May, going 8-for-40 with one home run and seven RBI.
Although these numbers don’t exactly pop out, manager Dave Roberts believes it’s only a matter of time before the 25-year-old returns to form.
“I see compete, I see approach. I think he’s just missing some pitches that he can and will handle here shortly,” Roberts said before Thursday’s game against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
“I think Cody’s close. It’s not to make any excuses, but his presence in the lineup is very important, his presence in center field is very important to us, and it was a shorter rehab assignment. We recalled him because of a certain need and obviously he makes our club better.
“He’ll continue to get at-bats and he’ll perform. I’m not worried about that at all. I think it’s just more of logging at-bats. The more at-bats you take consistently, sometimes it just takes one swing, one at-bat, one game, where something clicks and you go, ‘There it is.’ It’s close. It’ll be there.”
It’s not difficult to see why Roberts is optimistic about Bellinger breaking out in the near future, as the 2019 National League MVP has recorded at least one hit in four of his last five games dating back to June 5.
In Thursday’s series finale against the Pirates at PNC Park, Bellinger went 2-for-5, which marked his third multi-hit game of the season and first since June 2. “He’s competing, like he has been,” Roberts said after the win.
“I think with Cody, right now he’s not getting to the fastball. We’ve got Texas coming in, and it’s a copycat league. For me, he’s just got to be able to get to the fastball and scare guys off of that.
“But the approach, the compete has been fantastic. And the defense, as expected, is next level.”
Roberts suggests Bellinger may have to change mechanics
With Bellinger struggling to catch up to fastballs, Roberts hinted that he may have to tweak his mechanics a bit. “There’s some things that go into it,” Roberts said. “It’s starting a little earlier, there’s different things with every hitter.”
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