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Watch: Cody Bellinger ties Dodgers’ rookie home run record

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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.

Shohei Ohtani medically cleared to begin throwing progression

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The Angels released a medical update on P/DH Shohei Ohtani Thursday evening. Ohtani was reevaluated by Dr. Steve Yoon at the Kerlan Jobe Institute. The right-hander’s sprained UCL showed improved healing and, as a result, he has been cleared to begin a throwing progression.

Ohtani, 24, was diagnosed with a Grade 2 sprain of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow after his June 6 start against the Royals and hasn’t pitched since, though he has been in the lineup as a hitter since July 3. It was initially believed he would undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery. Then the thought was that Ohtani wouldn’t pitch again for the rest of the season, but this update suggests a possibility he could return to the mound before the season is over.

In nine starts, Ohtani put together a 3.10 ERA with a 61/20 K/BB ratio in 49 1/3 innings. As a hitter, he batted .283/.365/.522 with seven home runs and 22 RBI in 157 plate appearances.