The Dodgers reinstated outfielder Cody Bellinger from the injured list before this evening’s game against the Padres. First baseman Albert Pujols was placed on the COVID-19 injured list in a corresponding move. Pujols was recently vaccinated and is feeling side effects from his second shot, manager Dave Roberts told reporters (including Juan Toribio of MLB.com).
Bellinger missed a minimal amount of time due to a rib fracture. He’ll return to the roster, but Gavin Lux gets the start in center field tonight. A healthy Bellinger not being in the lineup for some of the Dodgers’ most important games of the year would’ve been inconceivable a few months ago, but the 2019 NL MVP has had a miserable season. In addition to three separate IL stints, Bellinger has struggled to a disastrous .159/.237/.291 line over 337 plate appearances. With the Dodgers hoping to erase a two-game deficit behind the Giants in the season’s final week, they’ll keep the two-time All-Star in a reserve role.
Pujols has hit at a league average level since latching on with the Dodgers after being released by the crosstown Angels in May. He’s done quite well against left-handed pitching and could be a key right-handed bench bat for manager Dave Roberts this postseason.