Cody Bellinger returns to Cubs lineup two weeks after breaking multiple ribs crashing into outfield wall


Only two weeks after suffering two broken ribs, Chicago Cubs center fielder Cody Bellinger has been activated off the injured list Tuesday. He’s in the lineup at DH for the Tuesday night’s game against the San Diego Padres. San Diego won Monday’s series opener 6-3 (box score).

Bellinger suffered the injury crashing into Wrigley Field’s brick outfield wall on April 23. Players who fracture a rib typically miss more than 50 days, on average. Bellinger beat that timetable significantly. Here’s the play:

Bellinger did not go out on a minor-league rehab assignment before rejoining the Cubs. He has hit and gone through defensive drills in recent days, and the injury has apparently healed to the point that the pain is tolerable. Seiya Suzuki, who has been out since April 25, will begin a minor-league rehab assignment with Chicago’s Triple-A affiliate on Wednesday.

Prior to the injury, Bellinger, 28, hit .226/.320/.440 with five home runs in 22 games. He was starting to hit his stride at the plate though — Bellinger went 10 for 30 (.333) with three home runs in the 10 games prior to getting hurt. A year ago, Bellinger slashed .307/.356/.525 with 26 homers en route to being named NL Comeback Player of the Year.

Top prospect Pete Crow-Armstrong handled center-field duty while Bellinger was sidelined. Crow-Armstrong remains with the team — Alexander Canario was sent down to clear a roster spot for Bellinger — and will presumably remain in center until Bellinger is ready to return to the outfield. It’s unknown when that will happen, though Bellinger is clearly ready to hit now.

The Cubs enter play Tuesday with a 21-15 record. They are percentage points behind the Milwaukee Brewers (20-15) in the NL Central. Chicago went 7-6 during Bellinger’s absence.

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