Cody Bellinger
Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution/AP

Dodgers star center fielder/first baseman Cody Bellinger had to undergo offseason surgery to repair his right shoulder, but all signs early in spring training indicate it won’t impact his 2021 season. 

Bellinger dislocated his shoulder while celebrating his go-ahead home run in Game 7 of the NLCS. It wasn’t just this celebration, as Bellinger had been dealing with issues through the season, reportedly having first dislocated it diving for a groundball.

“Never again,” Bellinger said, with a smile. “I will be a handshake guy for the rest of my career, that’s for sure. I’m done with that.”

“I will 100% be ready for Opening Day if everything goes as planned,” Bellinger said. “As of now, I will 100% say that with confidence.”

“Feels good to be back playing because rehab is so boring,” Bellinger said. “So boring, especially when no one’s here. So to have everyone here now, it feels good, it’s just fun.”

Cody Bellinger, 25, won Rookie of the Year in 2017 and NL MVP honors in 2019. In the latter season, he hit .305/.406/.629 with 47 homers, 115 RBI and 121 runs while leading the league in total bases. In 56 games last year, Bellinger took a step back, slashing .239/.333/.455 (113 OPS+) with 12 homers, 30 RBI and 33 runs. In 18 playoff games, he hit .212/.316/.455 with two triples, four homers and 13 RBI. 

Even with the shoulder issue, Bellinger played the outfield for most of the World Series against the Rays, aside from serving as the team’s designated hitter in Game 4. Though he was out on the field, his production in the World Series wasn’t all there, hitting just one homer with three RBIs in the six games.

Bellinger is currently scheduled to participate in Cactus League games around March 15, which should give him enough time to get ready for Opening Day. But the most important thing for Bellinger and the Dodgers this spring is his health. And all signs point to Bellinger being the Opening Day centerfielder. If that happens, he’ll be celebrating with handshakes.