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Questions follow Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger into the season

DENVER — Answering questions about Cody Bellinger became like too-frequent trips to the dentist for Dodgers manager Dave Roberts this spring.

The drilling hasn’t stopped now that the season has started.

Bellinger went 0 for 4 in Friday’s season opener, nudging one ball two feet in front of the plate, softly popping another one into foul territory and failing to advance runners in three of those four at-bats.

“I’m looking at today,” Roberts said when asked to evaluate those at-bats before Saturday’s game. “I’m looking at today. I will focus on today.

“Yesterday is one game. He didn’t swing the bat well. He’s got a tough matchup tonight. But I just want him to go out there and take good at-bats.”

Roberts then offered the same mantra he shared in spring training as Bellinger went 5 for 36 (.139) with 18 strikeouts.

“It’s one day. It’s four at bats,” Roberts said. “I just want him to keep clarity. Go out there and be a good hitter, (have) good at-bats, help us win baseball games and if he can do that I think that production will be there.”

Since teams shift to the right side against the left-handed Bellinger, it was offered as an option that Bellinger should drop an occasional bunt, taking the hit that is offered at a time when they are so hard to come by for him.

“We talk about that all the time as far as taking what the defense or the pitcher gives you,” Roberts said. “The hitting coaches are not in the batter’s box. I’m not in the batter’s box. He understands the value (of bunting). He’s shown early on in his career that he can lay down a bunt to get a base hit, to leg out a hit. That option is always there for him.”

Bellinger was hitless in his first three at-bats Saturday as well.

SHARED PAIN

After hitting an RBI single in the second inning of Friday’s season opener, Rockies shortstop Jose Iglesias stood teary-eyed at first base. Iglesias explained later that his father passed away recently and he was emotional about his first big-league hit that his father couldn’t see.

Dodgers first baseman Freddie Freeman saw Iglesias’ emotional reaction and offered a hug and some consoling words. Freeman’s mother died when he was 10 years old.

“I obviously didn’t know what was going on when he started to cry, but when he came back to first base, I asked what was going on and he told me he lost his father a couple weeks ago,” Freeman explained Saturday. “I think in that moment you just have some compassion and I just told him ‘I’ve been in your situation, I’ve lost a parent before. This is so fresh and it’s amazing that you’re even out here because that’s hard. It’s the hardest thing to do in life.’

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