Cody Bellinger returns to center field for Game 5 of the World Series, one night after he was limited to designated hitter duties because of back tightness.
“He told me, ‘I’m 100 percent, I’m ready to go,’” manager Dave Roberts said Sunday.
The back tightness limited Bellinger more when in the field than hitting, which is why he still started on Saturday at DH. He was 0-for-4 with an intentional walk in Game 4, and watched from the dugout as Chris Taylor booted a ball in center field, starting a disastrous chain of events on the final play of the game.
Bellinger played every defensive inning in center field this postseason before Game 4 on Saturday, and is a Gold Glove finalist at the position in the National League this season.
Bellinger homered in Game 1 against Tyler Glasnow, and is now 3-for-4 with three home runs and a walk against Glasnow in his career. Bellinger this postseason is hitting .220/.333/.492 with four home runs, two triples, and 12 RBI in 16 games.
With Bellinger back in center field, that frees up the DH spot for Will Smith, since Austin Barnes is catching Clayton Kershaw as he has all postseason. Smith is 3-for-17 in the series, including a home run in Game 2.