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Dodgers: Cody Bellinger Talks About Rib Injury, Potential Return from IL



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.”

Related: Cody Bellinger Not Expected to Miss the Regular Season

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.

NEXT: Insider Predicts a Cody Bellinger Trade, Why LA Would & Wouldn’t Trade the Former MVP

Written by Clint Pasillas

Clint is the lead editor of Dodgers Nation, and a host and analyst on Dodgers Nation's own Blue Heaven podcast live stream.

He's been writing, blogging, and podcasting Dodgers since about 2008. He was there for Nomar, Greg Maddux, and Blake DeWitt, and he'll be there for Walker Buehler, Alex Verdugo, Dustin May, and any Dodgers of the future.

He's also a sandwich enthusiast, a consummate athlete, and a friend.

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  1. Thank goodness there is some speculation he won’t return to the lineup during remaining games in the regular season. Bellinger has to be the most overrated player in baseball. He had a breakout couple of months in his MVP year, where he was on a home run tear and hitting more than .400. Then he fizzled across the finish line with pedestrian numbers enough to get his MVP. He shows up at spring training the following year with what he called a new swing, to the gaping open mouth of Roberts. It would be generous to say he’s been “average” ever since. He isn’t needed in the postseason, except as a late inning defensive substitution. He’s needs to spend his offseason at the Arizona facility relearning the mechanics that brought him those outstanding couple of months where he was a headliner. If he can’t dedicate himself to that, them trade him while there is still some value.

  2. Bellinger won’t be needed anyway because honestly the Dodgers won’t be going deep into October, as I just cannot envision them getting past the Cards in that WC game. Off season likely begins on October 7th.

    • why the heck do you think the Dodgers at home with Scherzer on the mound can be beat? cards, pods, gnats – no one is going to beat him at Dodger Stadium!

  3. Good that he still has confidence in himself because I sure don’t. If hitting .159 is a good spot then he is obviously in LALA LAND. As far as not being able to prevent injuries it was all on him for that stupid elbow bump. Another example of being in LALA LAND.

  4. Bellinger possesses a lot of athletic talent but needs to realize that paying attention to coaching is as important as the gifts he has.
    He needs to put himself in the hands of an expert.

  5. So far, most everyone is of the same opinion that CB has not done anything to help the Dodgers in 2021. Unfortunately, Dave Roberts is not of that same opinion. He will play Bellinger just as soon as he’s able to play. Sadly, that forces Dodgers fans to hope for something that is abhorrent in the hearts and minds of every true sports fan around the world; that an injury will keep Bellinger out of the lineup throughout the playoffs. How many thought “finally, Bellinger is on the IL. Now, maybe, Roberts will stop playing someone who doesn’t bring anything more than his glove”. That people have to hope for such things is indicative of the frustration fans have with some of the decisions Roberts has made over this frustrating season. Some of his decisions lacked any kind of common sense like sitting his best bats when they last played the Giants. His reasons? He wanted them to be rested for the final push towards the end of the season (sigh).

    I’m sorry Bellinger has gone through the challenges he’s had to endure this season. It’s like the Baseball Gods had it in for him in 2021. As sad as that is, though, the Dodgers are in a pennant race and have got to field the best team with players that give them the best chance to win. Bellinger doesn’t qualify. He’s hitting .159 for the season and that doesn’t help the Dodgers in any reality. It doesn’t matter if he plays great defense if he can’t hit the ball. If it were anyone else Roberts would have sent him down to the minors long ago to work out his batting issues. But, no. Roberts doesn’t care how it hurts the team, he will keep playing CB no matter how many runners he strands on base.

    And that, my friends, is why the Dodgers will not catch the Giants and will not go very far into the playoffs. There just have been too many obstacles to overcome. From an onslaught of injuries to poor decision making by DR, it’s just too much for any team to overcome. And that’s sad when you consider how much money has been invested by ownership to bring fantastic players into the fold. What if the Dodgers didn’t have a steady stream of injuries over the season? What if Bauer didn’t have his legal issues that kept him away 2/3’s of the season? What if DR made decisions that made sense and helped them to win? What if…?

  6. Well written observation DR, pretty much sums it all up. Add to this there are 3 National League teams that are just hungry and already know how to read roberts like a book. He makes predictable moves that are easy to counter from opposing managers, he WON’T bunt to beat shifts, hit and run, safety squeeze etc. even when his line up can’t hit anything. So when itcomes down to a single game do or die, there are teams that know how and will execute, then there’s DRRRRRRRRRRR’s…Truly is sad to see the amount of money invested, and also this year is the end of the run. It’s been a good one as a Dodgers fan but we’ve depleted the farm, used up these good players we’ve had, only to see it squandered from a Mr Mcgoo manager who is the players best friend rather than their leader.

    • There was no need to deplete the farm like they did.

      They could have held on to yordan alverez and not get that older minor league pitcher that didn’t work out.

      They could have held on to verdugo and jeter downs and connor wong and a butt load of money for price, and instead signed FA harper to the big long contract that they foolishly gave to betts and who will never live up to it.

      How nice would it be to have verdugo and alverez on bench right now or even starting.

      Dodgers seem to trade away or let go anyone who can hit for an average. (Rangelo was hitting well over .400 at AAA, before they let him go to japan) meanwhile they keep souza, mckinnley, raley, etc.

      And don’t get me started on all the pitcher reclamation projects they signed on hoping to find someone that sticks. NO one should be surprised at they number they had to sign just find a couple that worked out. That’s not being great at finding talent, that is just getting lucky.

  7. Cody may make the postseason roster and be a defensive replacement late in the game. Gavin if he keeps hitting will keep starting

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