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Dodgers: Cody Bellinger Admits His Shoulder Held Him Back Early on in 2021



This season has been a wild year for Cody Bellinger. Coming off of a shoulder surgery during the offseason, the Dodgers knew it would take him some time to get 100 percent right. That proved to take much longer than anticipated after a break in his leg followed by a hamstring injury when he finally returned. 

But it was the shoulder that clearly appeared to be an issue at most points this year when he was in games. Bellinger was late to almost every fastball that he saw, especially ones up in the zone. The strength was missing, and so was the bat speed. The Dodgers outfielder noticed. 

Speaking with The Athletic this weekend, Bellinger discussed the shoulder that has been an issue for most of the year. Belli didn’t want to use it as an excuse for poor performance, but it’s tough to ignore the lack of strength. 

It hit me later on. It’s not an excuse. It’s just reality. I lost strength. My shoulder wasn’t as mobile as it was. I thought it was an excuse, that I’m the same guy, but no, it’s reality. My shoulder was tight. My leg was broken… but I’m there. I’m feeling good.

But the good news is that the Dodgers superstar appears to be turning a corner. Bellinger has gone deep 4 times in the month of August and is OPSing .977 through 11 games played. That’s a significant improvement from his overall numbers in 2021. 

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But Bellinger isn’t letting the last few months hold him back. Instead, he’s moving forward with the improvements. 

[expletive] happens. I’m not mad that it happened. I’m not thinking that if this didn’t happen, I wouldn’t be having a [expletive]  year. Like no, it doesn’t affect me. All I can do is just continue to move forward. I have peace of mind. I can go and compete now.

If the Dodgers can get even a sliver of the production that they’re used to from Bellinger, it’s going to be tough to stop their offense. Especially with him hitting even further down in the lineup than we’re used to. 

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Written by Brook Smith

Brook is the Senior Editor of Dodgers Nation, with several years of experience in sports journalism. He is an avid Dodgers and Lakers fan, and can be spotted fairly often at Dodger Stadium and Staples Center.

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  1. He’s already back. All the way up to .180 and in the starting lineup at the expense of a guy hitting .300+
    So he’s saying it’s the broken leg and shoulder this year. How do you explain the last 1 1/2 years
    And if he swings that hard with a bum shoulder, I can’t wait to see the bat speed when he’s all the way back. Just some more very sound strategery compliments of Dopey Dave

  2. Bellinger had a hard hit to left last night caught, AA liner to right the night before that was caught an inch off the ground; and the beat goes on the last 10 games or so. And his average is slowly climbing. A few of them will begin to fall in. He had an 8 game hitting streak, an 0 fer, and a game winning hit, then a hit last night the 3 games after the streak. The giant is awaking. I am in his corner; but I am also one who understands the game. Since July 31st, his average has jumped 27 points. The guy rehabbed while playing MLB!! Shoulder surgery. Then a broken leg. I worked with a guy who had shoulder surgery similar to his. Factory job. Missed 6 months. Then was on light duty for a bit when he came back. Give the guy some slack dude.

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