Daily Dose: Ring The Bellinger

Nathan Grimm
Matthew Pouliot takes a look at first basemen to draft and those to avoid in the Strike Zone

2018 Breakdowns: First Basemen

Matthew Pouliot takes a look at first basemen to draft and those to avoid in the Strike Zone

Every time Cody Bellinger steps on the field, something special can happen.

Just ask Dodgers manager Dave Roberts.

“Every time he steps on the field,” Roberts said, “something special can happen.”

Roberts' remarks came after the latest "something special" happened Saturday, when the 22-year-old rookie hit for the cycle in a win over the Marlins. Incredibly, the cycle was the first for a Dodgers rookie in the team's long and illustrious history.

Bellinger started it with a single up the middle in the first inning, and he hooked a two-run homer over the right field wall -- his league-leading 26th of the year -- in a five-run third inning.

He pounded a double off the wall an inning later, narrowly missing a second homer, and in the seventh inning he laced a line drive to right that Giancarlo Stanton missed by inches. Bellinger raced around the bases and made it safely into third to complete the cycle.

“This week has definitely been the top of everything,” Bellinger said. “To start hearing my name at the [Home Run] Derby, and then the All-Star game, it’s definitely something I’ll never forget.”

It should surprise few that Bellinger was able to accomplish the feat, given how much he's accomplished already. A top prospect coming into the season, Bellinger didn't even start the year in the majors, making his major league debut on April 25. Since then, all he's done is produce, slashing .271/.349/.639 with those 26 homers, 61 RBI and 52 runs scored.

Special, indeed.

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Ross Set For Season-Ending Surgery

A rollercoaster season for Joe Ross bottomed out Saturday.

The right-hander, who was placed on the 10-day disabled list Friday, was publicly diagnosed Saturday with a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, an injury that will require season-ending Tommy John surgery. The surgery is set for Wednesday.

Ross had been removed from his Sunday start after 3 1/3 innings with what the team said was "triceps tenderness," and after the All-Star break he was officially placed on the disabled list. He underwent an arthrogram MRI on Friday, which revealed a full thickness tear of the ligament.

“We knew with the MRI that it was going to be serious,” Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said. “We just didn’t know to what degree. The arthrogram made it very clear on what happened to it.”

The injury put a disappointing cap on what was a frustrating first half for the 24-year-old. Ross struggled so much out of the gate -- he posted a 7.47 ERA in three April starts -- that the team demoted him for a few weeks in early May. He returned on May 23 with eight strong innings, but the results over the next two months were mixed. His abbreviated start Sunday left Ross with a 5.01 ERA and 1.47 WHIP over 13 starts overall.

The major elbow surgery will likely keep Ross out until at least the second half of next season, and the timing may not allow for the right-hander to return at all in 2018. Rizzo said the team will have a better idea of a timetable after the surgery.

If there's a silver lining, it's that the diagnosis came with a few weeks left before the non-waiver trade deadline, affording the Nats the opportunity to shop around for a starter to fill the void left by Ross's departure. Jacob Turner and Edwin Jackson, neither of whom are attractive fantasy options, are the most likely candidates to step into the rotation in the near term.

Mets Hoping For The Best On Cespedes

The MASH -- er, Mets -- are hoping their most recent early exit won't be a long-term one.

Yoenis Cespedes left Saturday's game with hip discomfort after attempting to slide for a ball in the outfield. The injury was a black mark on an otherwise good night for the Mets, who beat the Rockies 9-3.

Cespedes limped off the field after the incident, but after the game, nobody was overly worried about his immediate future.

“I don’t think it’s real serious with Ces’, but certainly if he’s out any period of time we’ll just have to do the best we can,” Mets manager Terry Collins said.

Collins said Cespedes will receive further evaluation Sunday, likely sitting out Sunday's game as the Mets go for the sweep. Cespedes also intimated to reporters that the injury wasn't serious.

National League Quick Hits: Giants placed RHP Johnny Cueto on the 10-day disabled list with blisters. Cueto is dealing with at least three blisters on his throwing hand and will take five days off from throwing. The right-hander has had a rough year and seems to be pretty down on himself, saying he's felt "like a rookie" at times ... Madison Bumgarner (shoulder) allowed just three earned runs, four hits and two walks over seven innings in a no-decision Saturday in San Diego. Bumgarner threw 66 of his 102 pitches for strikes while recording five punchouts in his much-anticipated return. He posted an awful 7.02 ERA in four minor-league rehab starts, but he obviously turned up the intensity and was locked in at Petco Park in his return ... Alex Wood shut out the Marlins for six innings Saturday, earning the win. Wood allowed just three singles and a walk over his six innings, striking out four while keeping the Marlins' hitters off balance all evening. It was the latest installment in what's been an undeniably brilliant season thus far for the 26-year-old, who's now a perfect 11-0 with a 1.56 ERA, 0.88 WHIP and 101/23 K/BB ratio over 86 2/3 innings ... According to Mark Bowman of MLB.com, the Braves sent a top scout to Detroit this weekend. The Braves are scouting both Justin Verlander and Michael Fulmer. Per Bowman, the Braves are more intrigued by Fulmer than Verlander, which should be the case as Fulmer is a decade younger and has had a much better year than Verlander. He's also far less expensive than Verlander, who is owed $28 million this season. Even with Detroit entering a rebuilding phase, the Tigers' asking price for Fulmer will likely be sky-high ... According to Jon Morosi of Fox Sports, the Astros are doing "background work" on Jeff Samardzija. The Astros are looking to beef up their rotation, which is relatively thin outside of top dogs Dallas Keuchel and Lance McCullers. Samardzija has had a so-so year for the Giants, but doesn't walk many batters and has always been an innings-eater ... According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, the Nationals are looking to acquire both Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson from the Athletics. The Nats have had their eye on Madson for a while but this is the first time they've been linked to Doolittle. It's a good match on paper with the rebuilding A's looking to bottom out and Washington searching high and low for bullpen help. Doolittle and Madson would both be huge upgrades for the Nats, but they won't come cheap. Washington has also been mentioned as suitors for Brad Hand, Raisel Iglesias, Pat Neshek and Justin Wilson ... Cardinals placed OF Stephen Piscotty on the 10-day disabled list with a right groin strain. Piscotty sustained the injury while making a throw from the outfield during Friday's game. Magneuris Sierra has been recalled to take his spot on the Cardinals' roster ... Aaron Altherr (hamstring) is not in the Phillies' lineup Saturday against the Brewers. Altherr strained his hamstring in Friday night's loss. It doesn't look like he'll require a stint on the disabled list but may need a few days to heal up ... John Lackey (foot) completed a successful bullpen session on Saturday. Manager Joe Maddon seemed satisfied with his session and Lackey should be on track to return Tuesday against Atlanta. Lackey landed on the DL with plantar fasciitis prior to the All-Star break but it was never thought to be a serious injury.

American League Quick Hits: Dallas Keuchel (neck) will make a rehab start for Double-A Corpus Christi on Monday. Keuchel got the green light to begin a rehab assignment after tossing two innings in a simulated game on Thursday. He'll throw another two innings on Monday and will probably need another outing or two to get his pitch count back up before slotting back into the Astros' starting rotation ... According to ESPN's Buster Olney, the Indians are among teams interested in Sonny Gray. Gray has also been linked to the Cubs and Yankees. Scouts have followed Gray everywhere he's gone over the last month and it seems inevitable that he'll be dealt ahead of the July 31 deadline. Coming off a down season in 2016, Gray has boosted his trade value by going 3-1 with a 1.33 ERA over his last four starts ... Orioles manager Buck Showalter said Zach Britton is very close to resuming closer duties. The Orioles have eased Britton in after missing two months with a strained flexor tendon but Showalter believes he's almost ready to reclaim his ninth-inning role. The left-hander has put together a 4.50 ERA over four outings since coming off the disabled list on July 5. Brad Brach will move back into setup duty when Britton returns to the ninth inning ... Yankees activated Starlin Castro from the 10-day disabled list. Castro missed two weeks of action due to a strained right hamstring. He went 1-for-3 with a double and a walk before being replaced in Saturday's marathon win over the Red Sox ... Twins placed OF Byron Buxton on the 10-day disabled list with a strained left groin. He suffered the injury in Friday night's loss to Houston. Buxton has had a tough year offensively (.218 AVG) for the Twins but has been a menace on the base paths with 16 steals while playing his position as well as anyone in the sport. Joe Mauer (back) was activated from the disabled list in the corresponding move. Buxton should be back as soon as his 10 days are up ... Mitch Haniger left Saturday's game against the White Sox with a jammed finger. The injury occurred on a bunt attempt in the fifth inning. Haniger went hitless in two at-bats before exiting ... According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, it "seems almost inevitable" that the Red Sox will acquire Todd Frazier at the trade deadline. On paper, it's a near perfect fit. The Red Sox have hit for average but not power this year and are in desperate need of a third baseman after designating free agent bust Pablo Sandoval for assignment (this problem could have easily been avoided if they had simply held on to Travis Shaw). Frazier would fit both quotas and the rebuilding White Sox are likely looking at an all-out fire sale after dealing ace Jose Quintana earlier this week ... Orioles manager Buck Showalter said demoting Kevin Gausman to the minor leagues is "always a possibility." Gausman was arguably the Orioles' best starter last year but has struggled to a miserable 6.39 ERA in 2017 and is coming off a dreadful start Friday against the Cubs (3 IP, 7 H, 8 ER). The right-hander clearly isn't fooling anyone as opponents have hit .323 against him this season. Surely the O's would prefer to keep Gausman in the rotation but another bad outing could force their hand ... Francisco Liriano left Saturday's start against the Tigers with neck tightness. Liriano never looked right on Saturday, scattering three hits, five runs and four walks over two-plus innings. He walked the bases loaded in the third before finally getting the hook. It's unclear if he'll be ready to make his next turn Thursday against Boston ... Bartolo Colon will make his Twins debut Tuesday against the Yankees. Colon wasn't particularly sharp in his first start for Triple-A Rochester (3 2/3 IP, 4 H, 4 ER, 5 Ks, 2 BB), but apparently he showed enough to get a try in the big leagues. Coming off a rough first half in Atlanta, fantasy owners can probably steer clear of Big Sexy. His fastball reportedly topped out at 88 mph when he threw for Rochester on Thursday night.

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