The Los Angeles Dodgers have aggressively utilized the 10-day disabled list this season, with the latest example coming in the form of Cody Bellinger. After suffering a mild right ankle sprain last Saturday, the rookie landed on the disabled list on Tuesday.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts initially expected Bellinger to be limited to pinch-hitting for a few games. Bellinger participated in batting practice Tuesday and didn’t report any pain in the ankle. However, Roberts explained the Dodgers’ decision was tied to lingering swelling.
In addition to Bellinger, the team has erred on the side of caution with Yu Darvish and Clayton Kershaw. Darvish didn’t believe a stint on the disabled list with back tightness was necessary, while Kershaw deemed himself healthy enough to have made a return up to two weeks ago.
Bellinger noted the conservative approach along with citing the bigger picture, during an interview with Alanna Rizzo of Spectrum SportsNet LA:
“I think it goes with me as well as Kershaw and Darvish, if it was the playoffs we’d all be in there right now. A luxury for us is we’re up  games, so we have that opportunity to take it slow. I love playing, so when I’m just sitting on the bench I get pretty bored. I just want to get out there. … I want to get healthy and be ready for October. That’s the end goal.”
Prior to missing the series finale against the Detroit Tigers, Bellinger appeared in all 101 games since making his MLB debut on April 25. Prior to a rare night off Aug. 16, he’d made 31 consecutive starts at first base.
On the season, Bellinger is batting .274/.356/.612 with 19 doubles, two triples, 34 home runs, 79 RBI, a .393 wOBA and 146 wRC+. He became fastest player in MLB history to 21 career home runs, and the the first in Dodgers franchise history to reach the All-Star Game in his first season in the Majors.
Bellinger’s DL stint is retroactive to Aug. 20, which makes Wednesday, Aug. 30, the earliest date he can be activated. With their slugging rookie on the shelf, the Dodgers have turned to Adrian Gonzalez at first base.
Including Wednesday, the veteran has started each of the six games since coming off the 60-day disabled list last weekend. Gonzalez was initially expected to fill a role off the bench, with Bellinger on occasion moving to the outfield.