The Dodgers have been without Cody Bellinger for most of the season as he’s dealt with a myriad of injuries. A fractured lower leg kept him out for most of the early season and now he’s on the injured list dealing with a non-displaced rib fracture.
Combined with offseason shoulder surgery that kept him sidelined for most of the winter and into spring training, it’s safe to say this isn’t the season the 2019 NL MVP envisioned.
“It’s been a grind for sure,” Bellinger told media on Saturday. “It’s not fun. But at the end of the day, I have confidence in myself and believe in myself. … As bad as it’s been, I still feel really good and confident and excited and all that kind of stuff. I’m in a good spot.”
Over his career, the outfielder/first baseman has usually been a pillar of health and consistency. However, 2021 just plainly has not gone his way. Through the leg, hamstring, and now this rib injury, Cody has missed nearly 70 games this season. And, when healthy, he’s struggled to put the ball in play consistently. Over 89 games, the former All-Star has hit just .159 with 9 home runs and 34 runs batted in, a far cry from his 2019 campaign.
“It’s been wild, I’m not going to lie. It’s been really crazy,” Bellinger said before Saturday’s loss. “Broken bones don’t feel great. Hopefully we can learn from the injuries, not that I could have prevented them. But just keep working out and trying to be as healthy as I can be and learning a lot about the body and mind, all that stuff.”
Just days before his latest injury, Bellinger had worked to revamp his swing. The work was paying dividends with Cody connecting on a couple of doubles over his last few games. But it turns out he was working through a non-displaced rib fracture in his left side. The original hope was that he could be activated this coming Tuesday. Now, it’s more of a wait until things are right situation.
“It’s more pain tolerance at this point, and it’s definitely becoming tolerable. I feel good. Swinging felt great. Throwing was the worst part in Cincinnati because of the motion where the rib [injury] was and that actually felt pretty good today. I would say I’m close.”
Including Sunday, the Dodgers have 7 more games on the regular season schedule. In all likelihood — if he returns — we won’t see Bellinger until the first or second round of the playoffs, if LA can get that far. Currently, things are trending toward a matchup with the molten-hot St. Louis Cardinals in the NL Wild Card game.
Julio Urias gets the ball in a Sunday matinee game in Arizona. First pitch is set for 1:10 PM PT.