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Dodgers notes: Cody Bellinger’s strikeouts, Clayton Kershaw’s changeup

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Los Angeles Dodgers v Colorado Rockies Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Cody Bellinger had a season from hell in 2021, his power sapped in his first season after shoulder surgery, then he broke his leg, strained his hamstring, and broke his ribs in an outfield collision. That limited the Dodgers centerfielder to only 95 games, but when he did play he hit just .165/.240/.302 before recovering with a productive October.

After a fully healthy offseason, optimism abounded with Bellinger entering this spring, and if you squint hard enough you might notice he has three hits on the five balls he put in play during the Cactus League. But he’s also struck out 14 times in 20 plate appearances, including a golden sombrero (0-for-4 with four strikeouts) on Saturday night against the Royals.

Bellinger’s spring, ever on brand, has included even more tinkering with his spring. Bill Plunkett at the Orange County Register has more:

But Bellinger has stopped choking up and moved his bat to its former horizontal position over his shoulder. The change was prompted by the greater strength in his shoulder, Bellinger said, and the better barrel angle it creates on the way to contact.

“I think the stance, the approach he feels very comfortable about,” Roberts said. “I think there’s some things with timing that … all hitters go through it whether it’s early in spring, at the beginning of the season, middle of the season, end of the season. There’s always things where you’ve got to get the timing down. Everything goes from there. Right now, it’s clear that he’s just off a bit with the timing.”

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Clayton Kershaw has tried out a changeup in the past but has barely used it during real games. Jack Harris at the Los Angeles Times wonders if this is the year Kershaw could mix in the changeup even more, noting that the left-hander has a new grip for the pitch, worked on with pitching coach Mark Prior and assistant pitching coach Connor McGuiness.

Victor González is healthy and thriving this spring, one of a handful of under-the-radar Dodgers profiled by Juan Toribio of MLB.com.

The woman who accused Trevor Bauer of sexual assault last summer filed a motion in Los Angeles court on Friday asking to throw out a subpoena from Bauer requesting her cell phone records. Bill Shaikin at the LA Times has more.

Among the players scouted by Keith Law at The Athletic on Friday was Dodgers 2021 first-round pick Maddux Bruns. “Bruns has always had a good delivery and his trouble throwing strikes was a mystery, with scouts questioning his feel to pitch, his toughness and his makeup,” Law wrote. “It’s only spring training, of course, but this is elite, elite stuff for a left-hander at any age, let alone a 19-year-old.”

Here’s part of Max Muncy’s sit-down interview with Kirsten Watson for SportsNet LA.