Bellinger (hamstring) returns to injured list

June 16th, 2021

LOS ANGELES -- Just as he welcomed a full-capacity crowd back to the Dodger Stadium as part of the pregame ceremony on Tuesday, the Dodgers placed star outfielder on the 10-day injured list with left hamstring tightness.

The Dodgers recalled right-hander Mitch White to replace Bellinger on the active roster.

Bellinger suffered the injury on Friday against the Rangers and has missed the last four games. He wasn’t expected to play on Wednesday, which is what ultimately led to the Dodgers placing him on the IL.

It’s the second time Bellinger has landed on the shelf this season. He missed nearly two months as he recovered from a hairline fracture in his left leg that he suffered on April 5 against the A’s. Bellinger was also limited for most of Spring Training as he rehabbed his right (non-throwing) shoulder after undergoing offseason arthroscopic surgery.

The rash of injuries have contributed to Bellinger having a tough start to the season. He is hitting .226 with one homer in 62 at-bats. His 83 OPS+ would easily be the lowest of his career.

Bellinger did some pregame running over the last few days, and the Dodgers are hoping that Bellinger’s stint on the IL won’t be a lengthy one. In Bellinger’s absence, the Dodgers will continue to lean on Mookie Betts and Chris Taylor in center field. Matt Beaty and Luke Raley will also get more playing time as left-handed options.

The loss of Bellinger is the latest blow for the Dodgers, who have dealt with numerous injuries this season, particularly to their position players. Corey Seager and Max Muncy are currently on the injured list and will be out for a couple of weeks. Zach McKinstry also missed six weeks earlier this season.

Could missing three key pieces to the lineup wear on the clubhouse?

“Not our clubhouse,” said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. “I guess I just look at it as the way you spin it. You’re basically just saving mileage so you get them fresh, and that’s kind of the way you look at it. So when they come back, then you get an insertion of life and talented players. And I just think it gives other guys opportunities. Could it wear? Maybe some clubhouses, but not ours.”

Thus far, Roberts is right. It hasn’t worn on the Dodgers. Despite the injuries, L.A. entered Tuesday’s game with the most runs scored in the National League. Taylor, Will Smith and Justin Turner have provided consistent production, and the team still believes Betts has yet to play his best baseball of the season.

The Dodgers have talked about their depth since February, and it’ll be tested yet again over the next couple of weeks.

“This is an organization and a roster that’s very deep, and we have a lot of guys who are capable of stepping in and filling into roles,” Turner said. “I think we’ve done a pretty good job of it so far.”