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Cody Bellinger returns to lineup for first game of spring

He’s hitting 5th and playing in center field

MLB: World Series-Tampa Bay Rays at Los Angeles Dodgers Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

It’s taken some time, but Cody Bellinger will finally make his Cactus League debut this afternoon. The plan is for him to play five innings in center field and get hopefully three at bats.

During the offseason, Bellinger underwent surgery to repair his right shoulder. If you recall, he hurt his shoulder while celebrating his home run in Game 7 of the National League Championship Series when him and former teammate Enrique Hernández collided shoulders.

Somehow, Bellinger remained in the game and played throughout the World Series, but underwent surgery and has been recovering ever since.

Today, he’ll be hitting fifth in the starting lineup and will be playing center field. The plan is to have him see action in the outfield, but he’ll also spend a solid amount of time as the DH over the next few weeks.

“I think that we’ve done a good job as far as getting him out there,” manager Dave Roberts said to reporters. “We can always get him on the other side to take simulated at bats. It might not be logged as how many he’s going to get, but I think 30-40 at bats is a good number.”

With Opening Day only two weeks away, Roberts added that he thinks the biggest challenge will be Bellinger seeing live pitching again, adding it’ll take some time for him to get comfortable in the box again. The good news is that playing in center field won’t be a problem, as he’s fully recovered and his strength his there. Roberts’ biggest priority is to get Bellinger consistent at bats.

Today’s lineup