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Cody Bellinger continues to impress

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San Francisco Giants v Los Angeles Dodgers Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

LOS ANGELES — The days of his first major league stint may be numbered, but Cody Bellinger continues to impress with the Dodgers.

Bellinger was 2-for-4 and scored two of the Dodgers’ three runs in Monday night’s loss to the Giants. One of those runs came in the second inning, when he scored from second on a single by Clayton Kershaw, and deftly evaded Buster Posey’s tag at home plate.

“The instincts are just off the charts,” manager Dave Roberts said. “From his first series in San Francisco vs. now, the game is slowing down.”

The other standout play Bellinger made was in the seventh inning, down 4-2 with Adrian Gonzalez on first base and the Giants deploying a shift against the left-hander. Bellinger got the count against Johnny Cueto to 3-1, then decided on his own to bunt down the third base line. It was his second bunt hit in the last four games.

“I could tie the game or keep the rally going. Odds are I wouldn’t get a home run. Maybe I end up striking out,” Bellinger said. “It’s such an easy hit, let’s keep the momentum going.”

Easy.

“I think there are certain things being a major league baseball player, that the game tells you what to do,” Roberts explained. “In that situation, they’re giving you the bunt base hit and we need to get the winning run at the plate, with him on base, the tying run. It was just a heads-up play.”

Bellinger is 8-for-25 with two home runs, a double, and five walks in his first week in the majors, hitting .320/.393/.600 so far. He has hit in five different spots in the batting order — Monday was his second start batting sixth — and started all seven games in left field to date.

But with Franklin Gutierrez set to return off the disabled list and start in left field on Tuesday against Giants southpaw Matt Moore, Bellinger’s streak will end, at least in left field.

It is conceivable that Adrian Gonzalez and his balky elbow could sit against Moore, but the Dodgers also have the right-handed Scott Van Slyke, who has started at first base in four of the five games not started by Gonzalez.

Bellinger’s playing time will be even harder to come by when Joc Pederson is activated off the DL, possibly as early as Friday. It’s understandable if the Dodgers would rather have the 21-year-old Bellinger playing every day and continuing to develop in Triple-A than in a part time role in the majors.

But no matter how long Bellinger’s first major league experience lasts, it has been a productive ride so far.

Forsythe rehab

Logan Forsythe said he will start his minor league rehab assignment on Tuesday with Class-A Rancho Cucamonga. He will be the designated hitter on Tuesday to “reintroduce himself” to game action, as he put it.

How long his rehab assignment lasts depends on how Forsythe’s right big toe feels, and how comfortable he feels at the plate after missing two weeks. It is conceivable that he could be activated this weekend in San Diego, but as Roberts said before the game they won’t rush Forsythe back.

“I’m just very mindful of the player and not trying to push him,” Roberts said.

Utley slumping

Chase Utley started at second base on Monday night, his seventh start at the position in 12 games since Forsythe went on the disabled list. Utley was 0-for-3 with two strikeouts, and on the season is just 5-for-44 with a double and five walks, hitting .114/.204/.136.

“The preparation obviously is there. You could argue that he’s never had inconsistent playing time, so that’s an adjustment for him, and I know he’ll never make that as an excuse,” Roberts said. “He knows what he signed up for.

“We’ll try to get him out there as much as we can with Logan being down. He’s a grinder. He’s going to figure it out.”

Up next

The Dodgers send Alex Wood to the mound on Tuesday night, another 7:10 p.m. PT start, six days after he pitched six scoreless frames against the Giants in San Francisco. Moore starts for the Giants, the only left-hander the Dodgers will face in this series.