Umpire Jim Wolf did not grant new Chicago Cub Cody Bellinger any pitch clock leeway as he reunited with his former Dodgers’ fan base.
The outfielder was excited to return to his original MLB home and was given a tribute prior to the game at Dodger Stadium on Friday night — marking his first time back against his former team of six years.
Bellinger, 27, was also given a warm welcome as he made his way to the plate for his first at-bat to lead off the top of the second inning, but Wolf didn’t allow him to relish in it.
As Bellinger stepped into the batter’s box to set himself up, Wolf raised his hands, calling a time violation on him for not being set for the first pitch in time.
“Come on, Jim,” one of the Dodgers announcers said on the television broadcast.
He began the count down 0-1 and watched a fastball come in, making it 0-2. He ended up ground out in his first at-bat. Bellinger went 1-for-4 with a double and a run scored to help the Cubs walk away with an 8-2 win.
He won a World Series with the Dodgers 2020 and the National League MVP in 2019.
“I’m really excited,” Bellinger told Fox Sports prior to the game about returning . “Looking back, so many amazing memories here being on this field. Just a lot of amazing memories. No sadness. Maybe I get emotional, but those will be happy tears if they do come.”
Since he was drafted in the 2013 MLB June Amateur Draft out of Hamilton High School in Arizona, Bellinger thought he would always be a Dodger.
“At one point, for sure,” he told Fox Sports. “But life is not always planned.”
By the age of 23, Bellinger was a two-time All Star and posted a career-high season in 2019 with 47 home runs, 115 RBIs, and a batting average of .305.
Injuries later plagued Bellinger’s progression however, including a dislocated shoulder that required surgery after he was the Dodgers’ savior against the Braves in Game 7 of the NL Championship Series, hitting a 400-foot homer that sent the team to the World Series.
Over time, Bellinger tried to find his rhythm again, but he struggled to return to the player he once was, recording a .210/.265/.389 slash line in 2022.
In November, Bellinger was set to earn about $18 million in arbitration, but the Dodgers expressed bringing him back on a lesser deal and the Cubs were willing to pay him that $18 million on a one-year agreement.
He has two home runs, nine RBIs, and has a .239 batting average so far for Chicago.