Bellinger making case to stick with Dodgers

Bellinger making case to stick with Dodgers

LOS ANGELES -- Cody Bellinger might not be shuttled back to Oklahoma City on Friday after all.

That was the plan when Bellinger was promoted a week ago after Joc Pederson's groin strain. The 21-year-old Bellinger was an injury fill-in who would return to Triple-A for more seasoning when Pederson was healthy. But after Bellinger's latest heroics -- a three-run triple that helped fuel a 13-5 Dodgers win over the Giants on Tuesday night -- there might be a Plan B.

"There was nothing set in stone and obviously, with guys coming back ... obviously things can change," said manager Dave Roberts. "Anyone who's followed our club for the last year and a half knows things change daily, or hourly. Cody's done everything he can to show he warrants a continued opportunity. Tip your hat to him the way he plays the game. A lot can happen between now and Friday, and we haven't made a final decision."

Bellinger's second-inning triple was all the more impressive coming off Giants left-handed starter Matt Moore, who struck out Bellinger twice in San Francisco last week, but also allowed him a single that triggered a four-run fourth inning Tuesday night. Bellinger was 0-for-6 against lefties before the triple.

"Cody has shown the ability to handle left-handed pitching throughout the Minor Leagues," said Roberts. "He stays in there, doesn't fly open, and to take a fastball and turn it around and hit it 400 feet, and a slider down and away and go line to line, the ability to go bat-to-ball skill is elite. The first time he faced [Moore], it was a tough day, but he came back. He's on the plate and that was a big hit. He finds himself on third base. He's so athletic and dynamic. He does a lot of things to win baseball games."

And with the typical Dodger flair for the dramatic, Bellinger's performance Tuesday night had the added intrigue in that, unlike his previous outfield appearances, he started at first base as Roberts wanted to give Adrian Gonzalez and his ailing right elbow a rest. Bellinger is the heir apparent at first base, but his outfield versatility accelerated his arrival.

"Cody's played well, offensively, defensively, the spark he's contributed to our club, and tonight he had another good night at the plate," said Roberts. "It seems like every time he takes the field, he does something to help you win. And for me, that's the mark of a winning player, and that's a good thing."

On the pitch before his triple to left field, Bellinger pulled a long fly ball well foul.

"The last series in San Fran, he was attacking me with fastballs inside," Bellinger said. "I was guessing after the foul ball it would be a heater or cutter in. He threw a heater and I was just trying to put the barrel on it."

In five games at Dodger Stadium, Bellinger is 9-for-19 with seven runs, a double, triple, two homers and five RBIs. Overall, he's hitting .345 with a 1.061 OPS.

"I haven't been told anything," he said. "I'm up here to help the team win every at-bat, offense, defense, baserunning. The rest is out of my control. It's been great, the family's here and I'm living out my dream right now. I think I belong."

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers since 1989, and for since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.