Dodgers star center fielder/first baseman Cody Bellinger had to undergo offseason surgery to repair his right shoulder, but all signs early in spring training indicate it won't impact his 2021 season.
One might recall Bellinger dislocated his shoulder while celebrating his go-ahead home run in Game 7 of the NLCS (watch closely around the 33-second mark):
It wasn't just this celebration, as Bellinger had been dealing with issues through the season, reportedly having first dislocated it diving for a groundball.
The timetable for Bellinger's return to full health following the procedure lined up with the start of spring training, but it's still reassuring to see Bellinger looking like himself. Here he is swinging with a note that manager Dave Roberts called him a "full participant" in practice.
Bellinger himself came out and said he'll be ready to suit up in the starting lineup on Opening Day (via David Vassegh).
Bellinger, 25, won Rookie of the Year in 2017 and NL MVP honors in 2019. In the latter season, he hit .305/.406/.629 with 47 homers, 115 RBI and 121 runs while leading the league in total bases. In 56 games last year, Bellinger took a step back, slashing .239/.333/.455 (113 OPS+) with 12 homers, 30 RBI and 33 runs. In 18 playoff games, he hit .212/.316/.455 with two triples, four homers and 13 RBI.
A good expectation for the season, assuming Bellinger doesn't suffer a setback with his shoulder, would be somewhere between the MVP season and his down 2020 campaign. He'll again slot in the middle of the Dodgers' powerful batting order behind the star-laden trio Mookie Betts, Corey Seager and Justin Turner.