Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Cody Bellinger suffered a non-displaced fracture in his left rib area earlier this week after colliding with teammate Gavin Lux, according to Jorge Castillo of the Los Angeles Times. Bellinger, who isn’t in Saturday’s lineup against the Cincinnati Reds, is available based on his level of pain tolerance and could rejoin Los Angeles’ starting nine as soon as Sunday’s series finale.
Bellinger, the 2019 National League Most Valuable Player Award winner, has had a miserable season at the plate. He entered Saturday having hit .159/.237/.291 (43 OPS+) with just nine home runs in his first 337 plate appearances. Bellinger has struck out in more than a quarter of his trips to the plate, some nine percentage points higher than he did last year. Additionally, his hard-hit percentage has dipped from 41.5 percent to 35 percent, or a tick below the big-league average.
Bellinger’s play has been particularly poor in the second half. He hit .176/.291/.303 in the first half, yet has batted just .148/.199/.284 since the All-Star Game.
Lux, by the way, is dealing with an injury of his own, albeit unrelated to the collision with Bellinger. He was hit in the forearm by a ball shot from a pitching machine on Friday. Lux’s x-rays were negative, but he isn’t expected to start this weekend.
The Dodgers entered Saturday’s game with a 94-54 record, putting them two games back of the San Francisco Giants in the National League West race. Nonetheless, the Dodgers are assured of making the playoffs even if they fall short of the division crown, as they lead the wild card race by 16 games over the St. Louis Cardinals. This would mark the first time since the 2012 season the Dodgers failed to win the division.