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Dave Roberts: No roster moves set in stone

Strong play of Cody Bellinger has Dodgers mulling options as players return from DL

San Francisco Giants v Los Angeles Dodgers Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images

LOS ANGELES — Another night, another chance for Cody Bellinger to state his case for remaining in the major leagues. The Dodgers rookie hit a three-run triple in the club’s 13-5 win over the Giants on Tuesday, one of two hits he had on the night.

“There’s definitely a spark he’s contributed to our club. Tonight, he had another good night at the plate,” manager Dave Roberts said. “It just seems like every time he takes the field, he does something to help you win. To me, that’s the mark of a winning player.”

Utleyian praise.

The Dodgers cavalry is close to returning in full. Franklin Gutierrez was activated off the disabled list on Tuesday, and homered in his first at-bat. He’s the lefty masher in left field.

Joc Pederson played in his rehab game with Class-A Rancho Cucamonga on Tuesday, and could be activated on Friday when the club is in San Diego. Logan Forsythe started his rehab assignment Tuesday with the Quakes, and could also return this weekend.

The prevailing thought has been that Bellinger would be optioned back to Triple-A Oklahoma City once Pederson is activated, with the idea that Bellinger would be better served playing every day in Oklahoma City than in a reduced role in Los Angeles.

On Sunday, Roberts said as much:

“I think that it’s great to see Cody perform, but I don’t think it is up for discussion that because he’s performing in the short term — which is great for his confidence, and for us — that now someone else is going to be casualty because of Cody.”

But Bellinger, who is now 10-for-29 with four extra-base hits in eight games, hitting .345/.406/.655, is forcing the Dodgers hand. Two days later, Roberts backtracked a little bit.

“There is nothing set in stone,” Roberts said after Tuesday’s game. “With that, things can change. Anyone who has followed our club over the last year and a half can see that things change daily, or hourly.”

“Cody has done everything he can to show that he warrants a continued opportunity. You tip your hat to him and the way he plays the game. A lot can happen between now and Friday. We haven’t made a final decision.”

For his part, Bellinger already has the major league cliches memorized. He’s not thinking about potentially getting optioned because it’s out of his control. He’s just thinking about the game tomorrow, and trying to win. Etc., etc.

But when asked if he felt he belonged in the major leagues, Bellinger did smile,

“Yeah, I think I belong,” Bellinger said. “I’m feeling pretty confident at the plate.”

“He’s just so athletic and dynamic,” Roberts said. “He does a lot of things to help you win baseball games.”

Gonzalez pinch hits

Though he didn’t start at first base, Adrian Gonzalez worked extensively before the game with hitting coach Turner Ward. Gonzalez delivered an RBI pinch-hit single in the sixth inning, putting any thoughts of a three-day break to rest.

Roberts said Gonzalez would start at first base on Wednesday in the series finale against the Giants. But one thing is clear — Gonzalez is still not at full capacity.

“He’s not 100%. Is everybody 100% all the time? Probably no,” Roberts said. “With that right forearm area, and the back, you’re talking about torque, you’re talking about extension. When those are compromised, it’s tough to be consistent.

“But Adrian is a grinder, and he’s going to try to find a way. For him to get a knock tonight was good.”

Wood feels consistent

Though he allowed five runs (four earned) on the night, Alex Wood said he likes the way the ball is coming out of his hand.

“I was happy with how consistent my stuff was tonight, and how it’s been,” Wood said. “There were a couple tough knocks there in the second, and I made a bad pitch to Moore. After that, it was a fun game to watch, for sure.”

The Giants scored four runs in the second, an inning that saw two hits up the third base line and a flare by Moore for a hit, plus a throwing error by Kiké Hernandez in center field.

“I feel like when the consistency is there, and it stays there, you’re going to have a lot more nights that are good than like [tonight],” Wood said.

Wood ended up striking out eight with one walk, and after early pitch count issues was able to finish five innings for the win.

“I thought he was better than the line score,” Roberts said. “For me, to get through five, and stressed in a couple innings, he went as far as he needed to go.”

Up next

The Dodgers finish off their series against the Giants on Wednesday night, a 7:10 p.m. PT game with the pregame ceremony inducting Vin Scully into the Dodgers’ ring of honor. Julio Urias starts for the Dodgers, facing Jeff Samardzija for the Giants.