Dodgers rookie Cody Bellinger has burst onto the scene in his first eight games in the bigs. He’s 10 for his first 29 with two homers, a double and a triple. He’s walked three times and he’s driven in 5. Last night he was one of the Dodgers many offensive heroes, going 2-for-4 with a triple, two runs scored, and three RBI. This after an age-20 minor league season in which he hit 26 homers in 117 games in Double-A and Triple-A, where the competition tends to be far older.
Even with that production, it’s hard for someone so young to make his mark on a veteran-laden major league club. As such, there’s a very good chance that the young outfielder’s days in the bigs are numbered. At least for now.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts told reporters last week that Bellinger would return to Triple-A Oklahoma City once Franklin Gutierrez recovered from his hamstring injury and Joc Pederson, who has a groin injury, came off the disabled list. Gutierrez is back (and homered last night). Pederson is due to be activated on Friday. That will likely leave no place for Bellinger, despite the fact that Roberts praised him effusively last night, saying that Bellinger has “done everything he can” to stick around in the majors. Such is the lot of a 21-year-old with options who plays for a contender.
There is one thing worth watching, however, which could give Bellinger a bit more time in the show: Adrian Gonzalez‘s forearm.
Gonzalez has been bothered by a sore forearm all year and he was held out of the starting lineup last night (he did pinch hit and hit an RBI single). There was speculation that he may sit again for tonight’s game against the Giants If Gonzalez is fine, the Dodgers will likely send Bellinger back to Oklahoma City when Pederson is activated. But if he isn’t fine — and if the Dodgers, who have won seven of 10 want to give him some extra rest to ensure he’s good later in the season — they could DL Gonzalez and allow Bellinger to cover first base for ten more days.
Probably not likely. Gonzalez is not one who takes much time off nor does he seem to like to. And, obviously, no one wants a player to be injured, even to make room for another player. But when you get a ton of enjoyment from watching young stars shine, you try to construct scenarios that allow them to shine a little longer.
So, nothing personal, Adrian, but if you want to take a little break to get your strength back up, we’d all totally understand.