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Dodgers: With AJ Pollock to Miss Weeks, Cody Bellinger Steps Back in to Starting Lineup



Give that it’s now September, it definitely wasn’t the best time for a significant injury for the Dodgers. Not to say that any time is a good time. Still, the team seemingly dodged a bullet after losing outfielder AJ Pollock to a hamstring strain last night in San Francisco. Particularly with how he was carried off the field after the injury.

https://twitter.com/DMAC_LA/status/1434384158646693897

After the game, Dave Roberts revealed that Pollock had suffered a grade 2 strain in his right hamstring. And, while he was hesitant to put a definitive timeline on AJ’s return, he did offer up an early outlook.

I don’t want to speculate, I know that it wasn’t good. It’s a huge loss in any capacity … sort of where we’re at… this is a couple, 2-3 weeks at the minimum. We just gotta see how he feels tomorrow.

Pollock injured his hamstring on an awkward slide into third base that seemed to be an odd play at the time. The 33-year-old has been one of the most consistent bats in the Dodger lineup this season. Over 107 games, he’s hit .297 with 16 home runs and 58 runs batted in while playing mostly left field.

Related: Steven Souza Jr Hilariously Impersonates AJ Pollock

With AJ’s injury comes opportunity on the roster and in the lineup. Roster wise, he’ll head to the injured list later this afternoon with utility man Matt Beaty likely making his return to the active roster. In the lineup, Roberts admitted losing Pollock changes the offensive game plan, but pointed to Cody Bellinger as the go-to man to step in.

It changes the look. He’s a guy you can plug in there every day. Hits right, hits left and drives runs in. Gets on base… he’s just added so much to our ball club. To fill those shoes, it’s gonna be tough but Cody is there for the challenge and we’re gonna need guys to step up around him.

Cody was recently relegated to more of a platoon role after struggling at the plate all season long. While he’s shown glimpses of putting it together at times, it’s often been a far cry from the MVP-worthy play he posted early in 2019. Through the struggles, however, Belli has still played Gold Glove level defense and maintained elite speed on the basepaths… when he can get on.

Losing Pollock hurts pretty bad for the Dodgers. But no club in baseball can simply plug in a former league MVP like LA will. Now it’s up to Cody to take advantage of the opportunity, particularly if he hopes for playing time in October.

NEXT: Roberts Wants Cody Bellinger to Focus on September Production, Not Season Struggles

Written by Clint Pasillas

Clint is the lead editor of Dodgers Nation, and a host and analyst on Dodgers Nation's own Blue Heaven podcast live stream.

He's been writing, blogging, and podcasting Dodgers since about 2008. He was there for Nomar, Greg Maddux, and Blake DeWitt, and he'll be there for Walker Buehler, Alex Verdugo, Dustin May, and any Dodgers of the future.

He's also a sandwich enthusiast, a consummate athlete, and a friend.

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  1. pollock was having his best season ever bellinger cannot hit the side of the barn this year is totaly lost at the plate their hitting coach should be fired if he cannot fix bellinger

  2. Isn’t there some right handed kid in Rancho Cucamonga they could call up instead of using Bellinger? I mean anyone in the entire minor league system?

  3. It’s a bummer losing AJ – since ASG, he has been our best hitter – Although you like to see aggressive base running, not sure why he was trying to steal 3B when there were 2 outs – if there was no outs or one out, it’s worth the try – but with two outs probably not good to try to steal third base

    • After his steal attempt, it was blatantly obvious that AJ was injured and that the Dodgers would be without him. Its unfortunate that one of our hottest bats is now out of the line up for awhile when we need him most, but there’s nothing we can do about that. Its up to other (virtually silenced) bats, and not just Bellinger’s, to wake up and keep it moving. Players have got to (and can) do better in a game than 0 out of 3 or 4. The fact that the Giants look as if they are running out of steam, is all the more reason why we should be able to put it together to take this series today. Go Dodgers!

  4. Just great. More automstic-outs from the 7th-8th-9th spots(Barnes-Bellinger-Pitcher). I would like to think someone from OKC(AAA) or Tulsa(AA) would be better than Bellinger.

  5. I know, now that Pollock is out how about bringing Beaty to replace his roster spot? A 270 hitter that makes contact and plays a few positions…….This is still the biggest mystery this season and it’s blatantly obvious that Roberts would rather affect the strength of the team and shun Beaty than get him helping this team out. Just think if Beaty is at first base in fridays loss, just think if Beaty is in there making contact and moving runners instead of Mckinlley and his world record strike out rate. Their excuse about his defense is NOT acceptable as a excuse any longer. Roberts would rather put a player that has NEVER even played the position, and cost a Divisonal game in a Playoff race than bring up his BEST bench player. It’s absolutely insane and without a doubt is Hate based. Ridiculous……

    • All the more reason as to why Dodgers most likely will have a quicker exit from October. The injury plague on this team would make it impossible for most teams to repeat as WS Champs. Dodgers really can’t replace AJ but that’s how the breaks of the game goes.

    • The only explanation is the fact that Beatty is a southern boy from Georgia. Roberts does not like him. We already know Roberts politics, he would rather lose than play someone he dislikes.

  6. Bellinger’s return means Mr. Auto Out is back in the lineup. Don’t be surprised if Roberts bats him in the 3-5 slot and really screw things up, even more. Pollock’s out and re-hashing they why is not much help. What is important is who they’ll put in his OF spot. Then belief that this has to be Bellinger’s spot is delusional. I’d really rather see some kid from OKC come up and get a shot rather then Mr. Auto Out. Belllinger is totally lost at the plate and everyone sees that except one guy and we know who that is.

  7. Cody is not up to the task. His numbers clearly show he will be a non producer on offense. With way too many strikeouts…

  8. T Turner in the outfield, muncy at second. Pujols at first against left handed pitching. Only logical.move.

    • I don’t think that’s only logical move, but it is certainly a move worth considering. And I think it would work. Especially because it would keep Bellinger’s anemic bat out of the lineup.

      • Paul, he better be back. Roberts has to get over his bias stupidity…..Let Beaty play for Gods sakes…..Mckinnley is worse than Bellinger, Mckinstry is lost….Out of the 3 Beaty is the only one who makes consistent contact and doesn’t strike out even close to those other 3…The Dodgers lack of production from their bench is not looking good headed into the playoff’s. Roberts only has Pujols that hits the ball. Last years team had Kike’, Joc and Beaty. I don’t have confidence in Roberts burning the weak bench to early in the playoff’s. He still can’t figure it out because he dislikes his Best bench player at the mercy of the teams biggest weakness.

    • Yeah- at this point with him, how ’bout
      (4) times a game. None of us can figure
      it out- he needs to get that defense to shift
      back over & that’s ‘the only way’ to get it done!

  9. Since his return, Bellinger can’t hit the ground with his hat. When he manages to get a hit it’s a fluke and he can’t reproduce the swing that generated the hit. His presence in the lineup seems to be bringing the rest of the offense down. Why should anyone try to hit the ball when one player is allowed to play without producing on the offense? There are two other players that can play center field well: Taylor and Betts. Both have the speed to defend against runs. McKinney has proven that he can play well in right field, and McKinstry has proven that he can play well in left. Beatty isn’t needed in the outfield, where half the time he couldn’t catch a cold. He’s much better at first base, where he’s not needed.

    • Barry, I watch just about every game and when Beaty was actually playing I only saw him flub 1 ball at the wall. I’ve seen Bellinger flub a couple as well. Bellinger is a very good defensive player, we all know that’s the ONLY reason he’s taking up AB’s. But even if Beaty didn’t hit his usual 260-70, he would at least move runners up , something Bellinger can not do. Playing Bellinger gives the opposition 2 out innings. The very reason this team never has big 6 -7 run innings anymore is because he’s a rally killer. The same reason the bull pen is always exhausted is because the team never scores enough to bury teams , which would allow us to throw our 3rd level pitchers. It’s been a interesting season to say the least , and hind site is easy for all of us fans. Maybe a miracle will happen and this past series will teach Roberts a lesson, or maybe fire up a few guys to find a way to beat the Vagiants, because that’s who the road to the title runs through.

  10. We are all in pain watching Bellinger struggling at the bat. Beaty would be more offensive productive at the lefty bat in his position. Until Pollick returns McKinney at the right side would be best. Still can’t understand why the staff can’t help Belli with his batting woes. Whatever let’s get it done …Go Blue!!

  11. Why don’t the Dodgers have another RH bat to play in left field? Wait, Taylor can play outfield and Beaty can play against righties. Send Bellinger somewhere to relearn how to hit, leaving him in there is doing him more harm than good at this point.

  12. Belli and McDufus are pretty much guaranteed k’s. When Mookie was on the IL, CT3 was ripping at leadoff. Ever since T.Turner was signed, CT3 moved down the list and so did his BA. Now you have less than 10 hits….yes..less than 10 hits between the bottom feeders. Belli, McDufus and unfortunately CT3. Roberts…yes Roberts shows his lack of judgement multiple times w/every single game. Who’s call was it to have a valuable player, Pollack..attempt a steal with 2 outs? Pollack is obviously out for the rest of the regular season. With 3 guaranteed outs in the bottom of the lineup, including the pitcher’s spot and CT3… is this the makeup of a championship team? Hardly. That’s a lot of pressure on 1-5 if anyone has noticed.
    The Dodger’s only hopes now are if the Giants should fall apart, which is not going to happen, or Covid takes out 1/2 the team. Yeah….if watching Roberts every game is not bad enough, watching Belli and McDufus will be beyond strenuous for my eyes….Let me know how it all works out…….

  13. It is hard for me to understand how someone can forget how to hit. 2 years ago Cody batted over 400 for half the season…..and now he can’t even hit his weight? We are supposed to have some of the best coaches in the world, and they can’t help this kid? There is no doubt in my mind that he can hit….that he has it in there somewhere. Either he is too lazy to work, too stubborn to listen to good advice, or our coaches are the problem. The Dodgers need to find out which one it is and fix it. But one thing is for sure, McKinney is not the solution to replace Pollock.

  14. There are options and it’s not automatically #35. Previous commenters prove that. Beaty, McKinstry are solid replacements. Even use Mookie in left, Taylor in center, and Matt or Zack in right(or Billy). As a last resort give the bat big a glove. Would be better than suggestion in headline.

  15. Stupid move trying to steal third with 2 outs. That’s on Roberts. He is in charge. Even more stupid is Roberts thinking Smellinger will pull out of his slump when he has been horrible EVERY week this year and even last year. Can’t have that failure out there when they need hits. Beatty needs to replace him, NoW!

  16. Memo to Hyderabad above here: Dodgers did have a RH bat in OKC but they designated him for assignment and he’s now with the Rangers. His name is DJ Peters. BTW he is now hitting above the Mendoza line, about 35 points higher than Bellinger. Pete’s today went 4 for 5 with 2 HR’s and double with 4 RBI’s. He has 10 Homer’s already and would he not be a half way descent replacement for Bellinger right about now?

  17. Oh, and Taylor has been pretty awful at the plate since the beginning of August too. So basically you’re giving up the bottom third of the lineup.

  18. Bellinger may be working hard, but he needs to work smart. His hard, upper cut swings are off ballance, and he usually ends up with a knee on the ground and his helmet has flown off as he pulls his head during the swing…so painful to watch. I remember a couple of years ago he ended a slump with a slap hit to the left side. I t was a nice easy swing, but he made contact and kept doing so after. The power came back later.

  19. The fact that OKC doesn’t have a single RH bat that can exceed .167 is frightening in light of all the Dodger’s stacked minor league system noise. Belli 2-48 with 21 k’s versus the Giants this year. they’re hoping he plays every day against everybody. Pathetic!

  20. Robert’s needs to stop with this Bellinger project. Everyone in this line up has produced, except for Bellinger. Send him down and bring up our next prospect whoever it is. Cant go anywhere but up right and give Beatty playing time. It took us to long to get to the giants. Let’s get back to kicking some ass already. Hell I think Joc is hitting for a higher average. Hey Robert’s 2019-2020 are over.

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