Gavin Lux returned to the Los Angeles Dodgers lineup one day after being scratched due to getting hit by a pitch from a pitching machine, and Chris Taylor also started for the first time in a week, which moved Cody Bellinger to the bench.
However, that decision also stemmed from Bellinger dealing with an injury to his left ribs sustained upon a minor collision with Lux in left-center field during the series opener against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
“Cody was going to be in there but just some residual from the incident with Lux in left-center field against Arizona, so we had some imaging and it’s a non-displaced fracture,” Roberts revealed.
“Pretty benign but there’s still some pain in there. So just to give Cody a day (off), and he’ll be back in there [Sunday] is the expectation. … It’s nothing that’s going to hurt worse by playing. It’s kind of per his tolerance. [Saturday] he was kind of sore.”
Bellinger is believed to be most affected by pain when throwing the baseball, but Roberts surmised his swing could be impacted as well.
Although Bellinger is expected to play through the ribs issue, it’s a third injury he’s suffered this season. He previously missed 46 games due to a hairline fracture in his left fibula, and another 10 contests because of left hamstring tightness.
The issues have combined for a tough season and one in which Bellinger already faced somewhat of an uphill battle while trying to overcome offseason surgery to repair a fractured right shoulder suffered in last year’s National League Championship Series.
In the midst of working with Dodgers hitting coaches to refine his batting stance and swing, Bellinger began to enjoy improved results. Justin Turner was among those to notice a change in his confidence level as well.
“When hits start falling, you just feel better about it,” Turner said of Bellinger’s recent plate appearances.
“It’s one thing to hit balls hard and keep getting out over and over again, and trying to stay positive. Once you start actually seeing results, it really helps you take that next step forward.
“I told him the luck is kind of turning around for him. He’s been extremely unlucky, hitting a lot of balls hard right at people. He gets a dropped pop-up by the catcher, and next pitch, it’s a double.
“That’s huge for us. He’s going to be a big bat and the way he plays Gold Glove in center field, obviously we want him in the lineup every day.”
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