Dodgers call up top prospect Cody Bellinger to help outfield

Cody Bellinger was starting in left field and batting eighth for his major league debut against the San Francisco Giants on Tuesday night. (Ross D. Franklin/AP)

SAN FRANCISCO — After repeated missed calls from Dodgers farm director Gabe Kapler, Cody Bellinger got to his phone around 2 a.m. Tuesday.

He would be leaving Oklahoma City right away for San Francisco and his major league debut.

Los Angeles called up its top prospect to help an injury-laden outfield. He started in left field and batted eighth against San Francisco on Tuesday night, and manager Dave Roberts said Bellinger will play the three remaining games of the series at AT&T Park.

"I’m sure like everyone I was kind of speechless," the 21-year-old Bellinger said. "It was a pretty cool moment for me. I actually had four missed calls from him. It was a great feeling. He said, ‘Congratulations, man, all your hard work has paid off.’ What I’ve been doing down there, continue to do what I’m doing and try to help the team win."

Center fielder Joc Pederson is on the disabled list with a strained right groin, while left fielder Franklin Gutierrez is on the DL with a left hamstring strain. Infielder Logan Forsythe is also sidelined by a broken right big toe.

"With the injuries that we have Cody gave us coverage anywhere in the outfield, at first base," Roberts said. "Also, he’s performed. To give him an opportunity to get to the big leagues I think is exciting for all of us and his family. When Joc and Franklin and Logan (get healthy), all these guys, obviously there are going to be some roster decisions."

The son of former Yankees infielder Clay Bellinger batted .343 with five home runs, four doubles and 15 RBIs with seven stolen bases in 18 games at Triple-A this year and was among the Pacific Coast League leaders in several offensive categories. He is considered the franchise’s first baseman of the future but will stick primarily to left field and centre for now.

Bellinger, who didn’t know he would be in the lineup immediately, said he feels more prepared to take this step in his career because he grew up around a major league dad and was around the clubhouse and big leaguers.

"I’m ready for it and I’m ready for the task at hand. We’ll see where it goes," Bellinger said after talking with Roberts. "He said I was starting in left field. It’s pretty special, especially here in this awesome ballpark in San Francisco.

Bellinger was selected by the Dodgers in the fourth round of the 2013 amateur draft. He was promoted a day after the Giants brought up infielder and top prospect Christian Arroyo — also 21 — from the same draft class and inserted him into the starting lineup.

"With Cody, part of thinking for us to leave him in spring training the entire camp is a benefit to him, to now be in our clubhouse and really have familiarity with all the players," Roberts said. "You get their top prospect over there and you get our guy over here, so it’s fun for the group, each individual clubhouse and I think the fans enjoy it as well."


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