Dodgers’ first baseman Cody Bellinger already has a stacked case for NL Rookie of the Year Award, and on Saturday, he padded his resume with a franchise record-tying home run. The blast, a 409-footer off of the Padres’ Clayton Richard in the fourth inning, highlighted the best of the Dodgers’ efforts in Game 1 of their doubleheader.
The home run was Bellinger’s 35th of the season, tying Hall of Fame catcher Mike Piazza for most rookie dingers in Dodgers’ history. Piazza went on to win NL Rookie of the Year distinctions after hitting the mark in 1993, beating out contenders like Jeff Conine and Chuck Carr by an overwhelming margin.
It’s not difficult to imagine Bellinger running away with the award in similar fashion, especially with fellow slugger Aaron Judge safely established in the American League. The 21-year-old infielder entered Saturday slashing .270/.352/.598 with 79 RBI and a .950 OPS, and no rookie hitter has managed anything close to his production level this season.
The Dodgers, meanwhile, couldn’t capitalize on their rookie’s historic blast. They closed a two-run deficit with a rally in the ninth inning, but failed to push the game to extra innings after Yangervis Solarte mashed a walk-off home run in the bottom of the inning. They’ll aim for win No. 93 during Game 2 of the doubleheader at 10:10 ET.
Arizona Diamondbacks right fielder Steven Souza dove for a ball in a spring training game last night, missed, and ended up injuring his right shoulder.
It looked bad, too. Center fielder Jarrod Dyson stood over him, frantically waving to the dugout for a trainer as Souza kicked his legs in apparent pain. Souza held his arms awkwardly as he walked off the field. At the moment the Dbacks are calling it a right shoulder strain, but he’ll get an MRI on it today after which a more specific diagnosis will come.
If Souza is out for a while it’s a pretty big blow to Arizona’s 2018 plan. Souza was acquired to help cushion the blow of losing J.D. Martinez in free agency. While not the hitter Martinez is, Souza hit 30 homers in Tampa Bay last year, stood likely to at least match that in the more hitter-friendly confines of Chase Field and, of course, plays superior defense.
Potential replacements for Souza include moving David Peralta from left to right and inserting Yasmany Tomas in left or having fourth outfielder Dyson, or perhaps a platoon of Dyson and utilityman Chris Owings, handle right. Socrates Brito is another internal option.
Obviously the Snakes will wait to hear the results of the MRI before going too deeply into replacement plans, all the while hoping that Souza’s injury is far less serious than it appeared to be last night.