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Bellinger bulks up for sophomore season

NL Rookie of the Year gains 15 pounds as he hopes to avoid letdown
MLB.com @kengurnick

LOS ANGELES -- Opponents will see even more of Cody Bellinger in 2018.

The unanimous National League Rookie of the Year Award winner last season, Bellinger has added 15 pounds during the offseason with a stepped-up conditioning and nutrition program.

LOS ANGELES -- Opponents will see even more of Cody Bellinger in 2018.

The unanimous National League Rookie of the Year Award winner last season, Bellinger has added 15 pounds during the offseason with a stepped-up conditioning and nutrition program.

But not to worry, he hasn't given up his go-to food group.

"Ice cream? Oh, yeah," said the Dodgers first baseman and frozen-treat connoisseur.

The 22-year-old Bellinger's upper body shows the impressive results of his winter work.

"I know what a full season is like in the big leagues," he said. "It's not going to be a surprise anymore. I know what I need to do to keep my body in shape to last 162 games."

Video: Bellinger takes home NL ROY in historic season

Recalled from Triple-A in late April, Bellinger played a combined 165 games in 2017, including 15 in the postseason. His 39 regular-season home runs set a National League rookie record. But he hit only .143 in the World Series and his offseason regimen is designed to keep him strong from start to finish.

"I'm 100 percent taking it seriously," Bellinger said. "I think when you have some success, you're living the dream, and you want to have more success. For me, obviously the sophomore slump is going to be there, people will say it, and I just want to put my body and mind in the best position to succeed."

Bellinger said he's been able to look back on the 2017 season, both his accomplishments and those of the team.

"The World Series was a tough one to swallow," he said. "Two good teams get to the World Series. For us to go to Game 7, it is an accomplishment. Obviously, you want to win. But I've had an opportunity to go back and reflect on the kind of year it was.

"During the season you can enjoy it a little bit, but the next day you've got to go out and try to do the same thing. The year was full of ups and downs. I had a great time and look forward to this year."

A year ago, Adrian Gonzalez went into Spring Training as the Dodgers' starting first baseman. He's now a Met, his departure hastened by Bellinger's meteoric arrival. Despite missing most of April, Bellinger was an All-Star and finished sixth in the league with a .581 slugging percentage. He was ninth in NL MVP Award voting.

And as he mentioned, he's aware of those pesky sophomore slumps.

"If I were to start struggling, we have the right guys in the clubhouse to give me the right advice to get out of it," Bellinger said. "I'm not too worried about it. I'm going to go out and have fun like I did last year."

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.

Los Angeles Dodgers, Cody Bellinger