Cody Bellinger returned to the Dodgers’ lineup on Monday night against the Braves, playing right field rather than first base. That will be the case going forward, MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports, due to Bellinger’s ailing right shoulder. Bellinger partially dislocated his right (non-throwing) shoulder on Friday night diving for a ball. Presumably, Bellinger is less likely to exacerbate his shoulder injury in the outfield than at first base.
Manager Dave Roberts said, “I do think, going forward, him being an outfielder makes the most sense. Being at first base, a potential dive, we’ll see how that goes as time goes by.”
Bellinger, 23, is no stranger to the outfield. He’s logged 1,072 defensive innings there since 2017, compared to 1,616 1/3 innings at first base and has played in the outfield more often this year.
The Dodgers understandably want to do anything they can to keep Bellinger’s bat in the lineup, as he entered Monday’s action batting .412/.486/.840 with 14 home runs, 38 RBI, and 32 runs scored in 142 plate appearances. He leads all of baseball in batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, OPS (1.326), adjusted OPS (248), total bases (100), RBI, runs scored, and hits (49).