Dodgers News: Dave Roberts Wants Cody Bellinger To Be ‘Hitter First’
Cody Bellinger, Mookie Betts
Ron Chenoy/USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Dodgers have remained one of the best teams in baseball despite a flurry of injuries and inconsistent production from some of theirs stars, with Cody Bellinger chief among them.

Bellinger was twice placed on the 10-day injured list this season, once for a hairline fracture in his left fibula and a second time because of left hamstring tightness. The two injuries led to Bellinger missing more than 50 games.

Although he has had a few memorable moments, including a grand slam to cap off an 11-run inning and a walk-off home run, Bellinger has struggled overall to a .168/.284/.282 batting line and 63 wRC+ in 37 games.

“I see some really good at-bats in there, I see some at-bats that are not so good,” manager Dave Roberts recently said about Bellinger’s struggles. “So I think for Cody, it’s just more of the abbreviated Spring Training, the start-stop with the season and hitting is hard.”

While his offense hasn’t been at expected levels, Bellinger has still played elite defense in center field, leading the team with four outs above average thanks in part to his 91st percentile outfield jump.

“For him to be on our club and impact us defensively like he has and to still try to get on track and stay on track offensively, it’s still a work in progress,” Roberts said. “But all I expect is competing and trying to win pitches and when he does that in the box, I think that all the performance will start to line up.”

Despite his struggles, Bellinger is still confident and remains patient with his swing.

Roberts wants Bellinger to use field

With Mookie Betts unavailable because of right hip irritation, Bellinger was slotted into the leadoff spot of the Dodgers lineup on Sunday. He entered a career 11-for-18 with five doubles, one triple, five RBI and four walks against Colorado Rockies starter Jon Gray.

However, he went hitless in four at-bats, only reaching once via walk. “He’s working tirelessly. I think he’s just trying to compete,” Roberts said.

“I think the elevated fastball at times is getting him. I still he controls the zone really well. It’s just that when he does get pitches in the zone, he’s got to move them forward. For me, when Cody was really good in ’19, he was a hitter first and the slug followed. He was using left-center, he was using the middle of the field, right-center field.

“And breaking balls in the zone, he would slug those to the pull side. I think for me, if he can go back to being a hit collector, using both gaps, I think that’s a great start. Hitting is not easy, but I expect him to get to that point.”

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