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Dodgers activate Cody Bellinger, place Albert Pujols on COVID-19-related injured list

Bellinger missed 8 games with a left rib fracture

Los Angeles Dodgers v Cincinnati Reds Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

The Dodgers on Tuesday activated Cody Bellinger from the injured list before their series with the Padres at Dodger Stadium. Albert Pujols was placed on the COVID-19-related injured list.

Tuesday is the first day Bellinger is eligible to return from the injured list, after missing eight games with a left rib fracture. Bellinger, who fractured the rib in an outfield collision with Gavin Lux on September 14, was progressing slowly last week, casting doubt on his readiness to return.

“It’s progressing, probably not at the pace we would like. I think progress is a good thing, but I don’t want to box him in to playing on Tuesday,” manager Dave Roberts said Friday. “When it happens, it happens. It’s just kind of a day-to-day thing.”

It’s been a season of setbacks for Bellinger in 2021, starting with shoulder surgery in November that prevented him from playing in spring training games until two weeks were left before opening day. Then he fractured his left fibula in the fifth game of the season and missed 46 games, and later missed time with a hamstring strain.

Dodgers-Padres lineups

Pos Padres Pos Dodgers
Pos Padres Pos Dodgers
LF Frazier (L) RF Betts
SS Tatis Jr. SS Seager (L)
2B Cronenworth (L) 2B Turner
3B Machado 1B Muncy (L)
1B Hosmer (L) C Smith
RF Myers 3B Turner
CF Grisham (L) LF Pollock
C Caratini (S) CF Lux (L)
P Darvish P Buehler

In addition to the shoulder injury sapping his power, Bellinger has been lost at the plate pretty much all season, hitting just .159/.237/.291, a 45 wRC+.

“I haven’t ever dealt with injuries, really, in the past. It’s been a grind for sure. It’s not fun. But at the end of the day, I have confidence in myself, belief in myself,” Bellinger told reporters in Arizona on Saturday, per Jack Harris at the Los Angeles Times. “And with the adjustments and the time and all that stuff, I feel good. As bad as it’s been, I still feel really good and confident and excited. I’m in a good spot.”

Bellinger isn’t starting on Tuesday, but provides an extra option later in the game, especially with a roster that is carrying only 12 position players and 16 pitchers.

“He’s not 100 percent, but he’s dang near close to it,” Roberts said Tuesday. “He’ll be available in any capacity.”

Gavin Lux makes his fifth straight start in centerfield on Tuesday night.

Pujols had a reaction to his second COVID-19 vaccination shot, Roberts said, and will miss at least Tuesday’s game.

“He didn’t feel good as far as playing in a major league game,” Roberts said. “Just to give him a day, and see where he’s at tomorrow.”

There is no set timetable for the COVID-19-related injury list.

San Diego roster move

The Padres before Tuesday’s game placed Craig Stammen on the injured list, also with no injury designation given, and recalled pitcher Reiss Knehr from Triple-A El Paso.