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May 22—The Oklahoma City Dodgers sure looked a lot like that big-league version that won the 2020 World Series.
And it wasn't so much because they had a pair of Los Angeles Dodgers making injury rehab starts near the top of the lineup, including former National League Rookie of the Year and two time All-Star Cody Bellinger.
Albuquerque actually fared well against him with Bellinger hitting in the two-hole and his big-league teammate, Zach McKinstry, in the three-hole Friday night in front of an announced crowd of 4,641 at Isotopes Park.
It was the heavy bats of the rest of the lineup, especially catcher Keibert Ruiz, who hit a pair of home runs and had five RBIs, that looked like a big-league squad in a 13-3 Dodgers win over the host Isotopes to even the six-game series at a win apiece.
"We just have an attack plan and we get after it and try to get him out," Isotopes manager Warren Schaeffer said of the team's approach to Bellinger. "Just treat him like any other player. You know each player has their own attack plan to get after him."
Bellinger went 1-for-4 at the plate with an RBI single to right field in the sixth inning. It was his first game on an injury rehab stint with the Dodgers. McKinstry was 0-for-2 with a pair of walks.
"McKinstry walked twice. That's not good," Schaeffer said. "I mean, we never want to walk people. ... I think we did OK against Bellinger. He had a two-out, RBI single and three outs before that. We'll take that."
Albuquerque is still very much a town full of Dodger fans after a rich history of Dukes baseball and a brief partnership in 2009-14, when the Isotopes were Los Angeles' Triple-A affiliate.
Several Dodgers jerseys were sprinkled throughout the stadium — and many more are expected for Saturday night's fireworks show game with Bellinger again expected to be in the lineup.
Bellinger played in center field and was fine at the plate Friday. If anything, the only misstep for the 2020 world champion was breaking MLB guidelines in the pregame when some of those passionate Dodgers fans in the stadium convinced him to go sign autographs near the dugout. That was a violation of protocols this season at both the major league and minor league level, as there are signs posted throughout the stadium explaining the rules.
The 25-year-old Bellinger is making his rehab appearance in Albuquerque after suffering a hairline fracture of his left fibula April 6 in a collision at first base in Oakland. He's been on the injured list ever since and Dodgers manager Dave Roberts has not given any specific indication about how long Bellinger's stint with the Triple-A Dodgers might last, though Bellinger is expected to be in the lineup at least through the weekend in Albuquerque.
PROSPECT ON THE MOUND: Saturday, the Isotopes look to get back on the winning track with a pitcher the parent Rockies hope will be a big part of the future in Denver.
Ryan Rolison, the 23-year-old lefty who was Colorado's first-round draft pick in 2018 out of Ole Miss, will be making his Triple-A debut in the 6:35 p.m. game.
What can fans expect to see from him?
"He commands a baseball," Schaeffer said. "He competes and he throws all pitches for strikes and all counts. So it's gonna be nice to see him fill up the strike zone."
Rolison had three Double-A starts in Hartford, throwing 142/3 innings with a 3.07 ERA, striking out 20 and walking just two. The Rockies saw enough at that level for their prized pitcher.
"We sent him back to Double-A with a checklist to accomplish and he checked the whole thing off in three starts," said Schaeffer. "So I think he's ready, man. There's nothing else for him to prove at Double-A. He's ready for the challenge."
'TOPES SATURDAY: Vs. Oklahoma City
6:35 p.m., Rio Grande Credit Union Field at Isotopes Park, 610 AM/95.9 FM/abqisotopes.com
Promotion: Postgame fireworks
Probables: Dodgers TBA (no record) vs. Isotopes LHP Ryan Rolison (no record)
Friday: Although Sam Hilliard and Taylor Motter each homered for the second consecutive game for Albuquerque (3-11), visiting Oklahoma City pounded out 12 hits in a 13-3 victory. (Box Score: Oklahoma City 13, Albuquerque 3)
Dodgers C Keibert Ruiz smacked two home runs and had five RBIs for OKC, and on the first day of a rehab assignment with the Dodgers, Cody Bellinger went 1-for-4 with an RBI single, and Zach McKinstry was 0-for-2 with a pair of runs.
Notes: Nick Longhi's 10-game hit streak for the Isotopes came to an end Friday, but Ryan Vilade extended his hitting streak to seven games.
Triple-A debut: Rockies top pitching prospect Ryan Rolison is slated to make his Triple-A debut and start for the Isotopes on Saturday, having been promoted from Double-A Hartford.