Dodgers Injury Update: Cody Bellinger Will Need Rehab Assignment Before Returning

The Los Angeles Dodgers have effectively played the entire 2021 regular season thus far without Cody Bellinger, who started in four games before suffering a left leg injury that has kept him on the 10-day injured list.

Bellinger initially was diagnosed with a left calf contusion, but persistent pain prompted further examination and it was then discovered he suffered a hairline fracture in the left fibula.

Bellinger has taken his recovery to Camelback Ranch, and on Monday shared a video of doing some running in the outfield. “He’s progressing really nicely. The swing is good, the running — I would say that was probably 60% or something like that,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.

“After that, there wasn’t pain, he wasn’t limited, so very encouraging. He’s just going to continue to still progress through that. I just don’t know right now how the timeline looks.”

On top of Bellinger’s return date being unclear, there will first be the need for a rehab assignment. “He’s going to have to take some at-bats, play defense, stay on his feet for nine innings.

“It’s just going to be too long since he’s taken Major League at-bats, so at some point he’s going to have to get sent out and play some games.”

One positive working in Bellinger’s favor is it simply is a matter of the hairline fracture fully healing. He started taking batting practice with the Dodgers before reporting to their alternate training site and continued throwing throughout the entire recovery process.

Testing for Bellinger

Along with MLB’s health and safety protocols, Minor League affiliates have guidelines and a testing process as well. However, that changes based on the Minor League level and potentially with each state as well, which will be a consideration for Bellinger and the Dodgers.

“I don’t know entirely as far as protocols from A-ball to Double-A to Triple-A, from state to state,” Roberts said. “But as far as levels of play, for guys that are big league ballplayers, the driver is not the level that they’re playing at in rehab.

“It’s just getting them the timing. But I don’t know how protocols in each state will factor, which I’m sure it will.”

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