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Dodgers' Bellinger Keeps Opening Eyes 



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Cody Bellinger (Photo by Mike Janes) Cody Bellinger (Photo by Mike Janes)[/caption]

LOS ANGELESFirst baseman Cody Bellinger certainly made a good impression this spring.

"The more you see, the more you like,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said after watching the organization’s top position prospect hit .393 in 18 spring games.


But then the Dodgers didn’t see much of Bellinger. The 20-year-old opened the season on the disabled list with an impingement in his right hip and didn’t make his season debut at Double-A Tulsa until April 30.

"It was really crazy. It just came out of nowhere,” Bellinger said of the hip issue that began bothering him late in spring training. "I just thought my hip was super tight, but it gradually got worse.”

Bellinger, a fourth-round pick in 2013 from high school in Chandler, Ariz., dealt with his hip injury with rest and physical therapy. He now has a stretching program that he will follow the rest of the season.

The down time robbed Bellinger of the momentum he built during big league camp. "I had to work to get my timing back a little bit,” he said. "But it’s a long season, and at the end of the day it’s only about 20 games that I missed.”

Bellinger slammed 30 home runs at high Class A Rancho Cucamonga last season, and after a slow start to 2016, he had hit .256/.362/.489 with six homers through 26 games at Tulsa.

Bellinger clearly is on a short path to the big leagues. His father Clay spent 11 seasons in the minor leagues before making his big league debut with the 1999 Yankees at age 30.

"I think his road was a little different than mine has been. He was always one of the older guys (on his minor league teams),” Cody said of his father, who now works as a firefighter in Gilbert, Ariz. "He just tells me, ‘Stay within yourself. Don’t try to do too much.’ ”

L.A. CONFIDENTIAL

• After throwing two innings in an extended spring training game, righthander Frankie Montas joined Double-A Tulsa in late May on a rehab assignment. He had been out of action since having surgery to remove the first rib on his right side in February. The Dodgers intend to continue developing Montas as a starter, though issues in the big league bullpen could alter that plan in the short term.

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• The Dodgers released Triple-A Oklahoma City utility infielder Elian Herrera so that the 31-year-old could sign with Yokohama in Japan.

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