Mookie Betts returned to the Los Angeles Dodgers lineup after missing one week due to lower back stiffness, leaving Cody Bellinger as the team’s only former MVP who still is not playing. Bellinger was placed on the 10-day injured list with a left calf contusion suffered April 5.
His IL stint is retroactive to April 6, which makes Friday the earliest date Bellinger can be activated. That also marks the start of a three-game series between the Dodgers and San Diego Padres.
While Fernando Tatis Jr. appears on track to return for the matchup at Petco Park, Bellinger may not be as fortunate. “He’s doing a lot of work down below with the trainers and strength guys. [Tuesday] he did some running, some swinging,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.
“There’s some swelling that’s healing as far as the discoloration of the leg, but right now he’s just not where we feel he can go full bore. I know I keep saying day-to-day, I just really don’t know when the timetable would be to return.”
While Bellinger can swing a bat without any limitations, he is not yet able to run at full speed. “But the plan is as we go to San Diego, he’ll come with us on the road trip and hopefully an activation at some point in time,” Roberts added.
When asked if Bellinger would be reinstated during the weekend series with the Padres, Roberts answered, “I think anything is possible. I just hesitate to put a date on it. I just want Cody to get better each day, improve, and when the staff feels he’s ready to go, then we’ll activate him.”
Then on Thursday, Roberts added, “I’m not going to say zero, but it’s close to that number.”
Although Bellinger continues to be bothered by lingering swelling and there previously was residual soreness, the Dodgers put him through a battery of tests to rule out any structural damage from being spiked in the calf.
Succeeding without Bellinger
The Dodgers’ depth was tested over the past week as Bellinger and Betts were both out, yet the team continued to move right along.
“Obviously with Beaty and McKinstry, I played Rios a little bit out there, having Cody down and Mookie playing center field, C.T. has been great out there. We do have coverage, which is helpful,” Roberts said.
Betts played right field in his return from a the minor back injury, but then slid over to center field on Wednesday night. Chris Taylor has also logged time in center this season.
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