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Cody Bellinger homers, Tony Gonsolin begins Triple-A rehab assignment

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Bellinger, McKinstry, Gonsolin continue their paths to return to the Dodgers

Los Angeles Dodgers v Los Angeles Angels Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images

Cody Bellinger homered on Sunday, one of three Dodgers on a minor league rehab assignment with Triple-A Oklahoma City, including Tony Gonsolin, who started on the mound to begin his comeback from right shoulder inflammation.

Bellinger, who flew out to the wall in his first at-bat with OKC on Friday, then had a scheduled day off on Saturday, took José Mujica deep in the first inning on Sunday.

Bellinger was 1-for-4 and played seven innings in center field on Sunday. Zach McKinstry was 1-for-4 with a double and played seven innings in right field, after playing left field and second base in his first two minor league rehab games.

During Saturday’s Dodgers-Giants broadcast on Fox, manager Dave Roberts mentioned 7-8 days as a potential return time for Bellinger, who has been out with a fractured fibula for seven weeks. On Sunday, Roberts confirmed that timeline for both Bellinger and McKinstry, who has been out since April 21 with a strained right oblique.

“I think next weekend is fair hope for both guys,” Roberts said.

Gonsolin was the third to join the rehab party, and performed well in his first game of any kind this season. The plan was for Gonsolin was to pitch two innings on Sunday, but if he was efficient, perhaps pitch part of a third.

He did that, and then some for Oklahoma City.

We already knew Gonsolin would need at least one more rehab start in Triple-A, since Roberts said he would need to be stretched out to at least four innings before getting called up to join the rotation. That Gonsolin is on the 60-day injured list guarantees he can’t be activated before May 31. Gonsolin even on the tightest schedule would pitch again for Oklahoma City on Friday, then again on June 2, with four days rest in between starts.

The Dodgers plan to start Clayton Kershaw on Tuesday and Trevor Bauer on Wednesday in Houston, so the earliest they would use a bullpen game is Thursday, when they are back home to start a four-game series against the Giants. Unless the Dodgers push the bullpen game at least another day, they would need another bullpen game after that before Gonsolin is activated.

Several variables complicate this, but if the four healthy starting pitchers in the majors can go on four days rest the next two times through the rotation, the Dodgers can push the bullpen game to Saturday against the Giants, then give Gonsolin the time for two more minor league rehab starts before getting activated. That would mean only one more bullpen game needed, thanks to a pair of off days in the first week of June.

But this is the point where I’m reenacting the Charlie Day meme, trying to figure out the possibilities. For now, we know what’s happening the next few days. The rest will come in due time.

Triple-A Oklahoma City

With the aid of Bellinger and three more home runs, OKC built a 10-1 lead with nine outs to play. But it wasn’t enough, losing to a furious rally by the Albuquerque Isotopes (Rockies).

Luke Raley hit a two-run home run. Keibert Ruiz had three hits and scored three runs. Two of his hits were doubles, giving him six doubles (and two home runs) in nine games in Triple-A. First baseman Rangel Ravelo continued his assault on Triple-A West with two more home runs, and is hitting .370/.478/.704.

After Gonsolin’s scoreless frames, Yefry Ramirez and Andrew Schwaab allowed nine runs, pulling Albuquerque within a run. Mitch White surrendered the tying run in the eighth inning, and lefty James Pazos served up the game-winner to catcher Brian Serven, the walk-off his second home run of the game.

Double-A Tulsa

Kody Hoese singled in the seventh inning, giving the Drillers their only hit in a shutout loss to the Wichita Wind Surge (Twins).

The silver lining was improvement from Michael Grove, who struck out seven of his 16 batters faced and allowed only one run. Grove, the Dodgers’ second-round draft pick in 2018, allowed 11 runs in five total innings in his first two starts of the season, including three home runs. But he’s kept the ball in the park in both starts since.

High-A Great Lakes

Clayton Beeter allowed his first run of the season in the Loons’ one-run loss to the Lake County Captains (Cleveland). The Dodgers’ Competitive Balance Round B pick last year has been on a regular schedule this season, pitching one inning every four days. On Sunday he only retired one of his four batters faced, walking two and giving up a single for a run in the first inning, the first scored against him as a pro.

Third baseman Miguel Vargas had two singles and scored once. Shortstop Leonel Valera doubled and singled in defeat.

Low-A Rancho Cucamonga

A three-run top of the eighth inning by the Quakes to tie the score was completely overwhelmed by an eight-run bottom of the inning, helping the Lake Elsinore Storm (Padres) double up Rancho Cucamonga.

Alex De Jesus, at designated hitter on Sunday, hit a three-run home run in the fifth inning, one of his two hits in the game. Third baseman Brandon Lewis singled twice and doubled. First baseman Sauryn Lao doubled, singled, and drove in two.

Before the late carnage, Quakes starter Robbie Peto allowed one run in four innings, striking out three in his fourth start of the season. On the season, the undrafted free agent signed by the Dodgers last June has 16 strikeouts and two walks in his 13 innings.

Transactions

Triple-A: Tim Federowicz was placed on the temporary inactive list as he joins Team USA baseball’s bid for the Summer Olympics. Andres Noriega was added from the Arizona rookie league, giving OKC a third catcher behind Keibert Ruiz and Hamlet Marte. Gonsolin was added on a rehab assignment.

Sunday scores

Monday schedule

5:35 p.m. PT: Oklahoma City (Austin Bibens-Dirkx) at Albuquerque (Dereck Rodriguez)

Tulsa, Great Lakes, and Rancho Cucamonga are off on Mondays this season.