As the Los Angeles Dodgers overcame slow start to the season and stormed to the best record in baseball, a sizable chunk of their success has been attributed Cody Bellinger. He made his MLB debut April 25 and appeared in 101 consecutive games, making 97 starts.
Bellinger’s streak was snapped Aug. 20, due to suffering a mild ankle sprain the day prior. He was removed after playing six innings in right field against the Detroit Tigers. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts anticipated his rookie being limited to pinch-hit duty for a few games.
Bellinger only once appeared in the on-deck circle and never appeared during the series with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Residual swelling led to the team putting Bellinger on the 10-day disabled list last Tuesday, retroactive to Aug. 20.
According to Bill Plunkett of the Southern California News Group, the 22-year-old expects to be activated Wednesday, the first day he’s eligible, against the Arizona Diamondbacks:
#Dodgers Cody Bellinger said he ran curve of infield as close to 100 pct as he could today. "Right on track" to return when eligible Wed.
— Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) August 26, 2017
While the Dodgers put Bellinger on the disabled list, the move was more out of precaution and to avoid losing the ability to backdate the stint. Like with Yu Darvish and Clayton Kershaw, Bellinger voiced confidence he’d be able to play through the minor injury if it were the playoffs.
The Dodgers are 4-3 since their young slugger has been on the DL, 13-15 overall in games he has not appeared in, and 78-23 in games he did. They were shut out Saturday for a second time in the last four games.
Bellinger is batting .274/.356/.612 with 19 doubles, two triples, 34 home runs, 79 RBI, a .393 wOBA and 146 wRC+. He leads the team in home runs, RBI and on-base plus slugging (.968).
Bellinger’s emergence allowed for Adrian Gonzalez to remain on the disabled list until healthy, and the veteran in some sense is now returning the favor. When the Dodgers elect to have Bellinger and Gonzalez in the same lineup, it will slide the former into the outfield.