MLB

Cody Bellinger set to rejoin Dodgers after being sidelined nearly two months with leg fracture

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The Los Angeles Dodgers have recovered from an early season slump to win 14 of their last 20 games, including eight of their last 10. The Dodgers’ efforts to chase down the National League West-leading San Diego Padres (who entered the weekend with a 1 1/2-game lead) will receive a boost on Saturday prior to their game against the San Francisco Giants, as Los Angeles is expected to activate slugger Cody Bellinger from the injured list, according to MLB.com.

Bellinger, the 2019 NL Most Valuable Player, has been sidelined since April 5 because of a hairline fracture in his left fibula. For his career he’s batted .273/.364/.545 (140 OPS+) with 123 home runs and 45 stolen bases. Bellinger is expected to take over in center field most days, with Albert Pujols and Matt Beaty continuing to split time at first base; Max Muncy manning second; and Chris Taylor ostensibly shifting to left in a move that could spell the end for Yoshi Tsutsugo. (Tsutsugo, a recent addition, has hit .143/.250/.143 in seven games with Los Angeles.)

As MLB.com noted, Bellinger’s reappearance in the Dodgers lineup will give them four past MVP winners: him, Pujols, Clayton Kershaw, and Mookie Betts.

Bellinger isn’t the only notable Dodgers hitter nearing a return. Rookie Zach McKinstry may also be activated before Memorial Day. Though not a well-regarded prospect, McKinstry hit .296/.328/.556 in 17 games with the Dodgers while appearing at four defensive positions. McKinstry has been on the shelf since suffering an oblique injury on April 20.

The Dodgers entered Saturday with a 31-20 record and a plus-74 run differential on the season. The Padres are the only team in the majors with a better run differential, at plus-86.



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