MESA, Ariz. — Cody Bellinger brings something to the Cubs no other player on the roster can equal—an MVP trophy. But the 27-year-old is now four years removed from reaching the peak of his powers and trying to re-start his career after signing a one-year deal this winter.
“It’s a hard game we play, even at the top, I accept that and learn from it,” Bellinger said. “This offseason I’ve done everything I could to be mentally and physically prepared, be ready to play and allow my ability to take over.”
Bellinger hired a personal trainer this offseason for the first time and tried an advanced Pilates program called Lagree to benefit his body after injury plagued seasons. After the Dodgers designated him for assignment, he saw an opportunity to prove himself again with the Cubs.
“It just made sense, the opportunity was there,” Bellinger said of choosing the Cubs once he hit free agency. “Wearing the Cubs uniform, playing at Wrigley, the opportunity the team has now, going out and getting guys and I’m a part of it. It feels special.
“I’d like to believe no matter where I was at, I’d be just fine. I put myself in the best position I could, put my body and mind in the best position to succeed this year and I’m confident in my ability.”
“He has experience with [hitting coach] Dustin Kelly and [assistant hitting coach] Johnny Washington and other guys on our coaching staff so hopefully that’s provided some comfort for him,” said Cubs General Manager Carter Hawkins. “He’s been here almost every day since he signed so that part’s been extremely encouraging. We know when he’s being himself, he’s really, really good. So that’s our goal, to be able to allow that to re-emerge.”