SAN FRANCISCO -- The Los Angeles Dodgers moved to improve a sagging offense Tuesday, calling up top prospect Cody Bellinger from Triple-A Oklahoma City to join the team in the Bay Area.
Bellinger, who is getting his first call-up to the major leagues, was penciled in to play left field and bat eighth Tuesday night against the Giants. He is expected to share time in the outfield at the outset, but is a natural first baseman and expected to be the eventual replacement at first for veteran Adrian Gonzalez.
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) April 25, 2017
On Monday, the Dodgers put outfielder Joc Pederson on the disabled list with a groin strain. Yasiel Puig had been solid in right field, though he has been slumping lately, while Andrew Toles has struggled in left, leaving the Dodgers with a lack of production in the outfield.
Bellinger was batting .343 in 18 games with Oklahoma City, posting a 1.055 OPS. He had five home runs, including a two-homer game already this season, with 15 RBIs. He was ranked No. 3 in Keith Law's top MLB prospect list on ESPN.com in April.
Bellinger was originally an outfielder in high school before transitioning to first base in his junior year. He remains athletic enough to play the outfield, though, and has even seen most of his outfield time in center while in the minor leagues. He leads Oklahoma City with seven stolen bases and has not been caught stealing this year.
He is also another left-handed bat for the Dodgers, joining a roster full of them. The Dodgers' struggles against left-handed pitching have been well-documented as the team lost seven of its first nine games against a lefty starter this year.
Teams have been running lefties at the Dodgers all season. The club's 277 at-bats against left-handers are 21 more than the next closest major league team, the Giants.
Bellinger, 21, is a former fourth-round pick in 2013 out of Hamilton High School in Chandler, Arizona. He is the son of former major leaguer Clay Bellinger, a two-time World Series champion with the New York Yankees (1999, 2000).
He spent most of the season at Double-A Tulsa last season, crushing 23 home runs with 65 RBIs, while posting a .484 slugging percentage.
The Dodgers will have to make a series of roster moves to add Bellinger to the 40-man roster in order to make Tuesday's move official.