Dodgers’ Bellinger leaves after pitch hits knee

Field Level Media

April 16, 2019 at 3:30 am.

Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Cody Bellinger left Monday’s game against the Cincinnati Reds before the top of the fourth inning, a half inning after he was hit by a fastball on the side of his right knee.

Two innings after connecting on an RBI ground-rule double against Reds starter Luis Castillo, Bellinger took a 95 mph running fastball to the side of the leg. Bellinger hit the ground immediately and was met at home plate by trainer Youske Nakajima, as well as manager Dave Roberts.

Bellinger got to his feet and lingered for a few minutes before he walked to first base with his manager. He stayed in the game but appeared to be in discomfort.

Bellinger never advanced off first base after A.J. Pollock and Max Muncy struck out. He returned to the dugout, slammed his helmet into the helmet rack and exited into the clubhouse. He was replaced in right field by Alex Verdugo.

Bellinger, the 2017 National League rookie of the year, was off to a hot for the Dodgers, entering Monday’s game with an NL-best .424 batting average. He also led the league with nine home runs and 22 RBIs before adding one more in the opening inning. His 28 hits and 22 runs scored were also league bests.

It already was an eventful night at Dodger Stadium, with Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw making his first start following a recovery from shoulder inflammation. The game also marked the return to Dodger Stadium of former Dodgers Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp, Alex Wood and Kyle Farmer, who now play for the Reds.

Puig hit a home run off of Kershaw in his first at-bat as a visiting player at Dodger Stadium.