The Chicago Cubs reinstated Cody Bellinger from the 10-day injured record this afternoon. Extremely-touted first baseman Matt Mervis was optioned to Triple-A Iowa in a corresponding transaction.
Bellinger is within the lineup Thursday in opposition to Pittsburgh Pirates right-hander Johan Oviedo, hitting sixth and enjoying first base. It’s his first begin on the place in two years. Bellinger got here up as a primary baseman, however had moved primarily to the outfield by 2019, because the Dodgers (and subsequently Cubs) needed to reap the benefits of his elite athleticism. Bellinger has been an excellent defensive outfielder, however he’ll break again in at first base after shedding practically a month to a left knee contusion.
Supervisor David Ross suggested as much earlier within the week. Sprinting continues to trigger Bellinger some points and whereas the Cubs really feel he’s sufficiently wholesome to return to the diamond, they may attempt to ease the stress on his physique by placing him at a much less demanding place. President of baseball operations Jed Hoyer informed reporters Wednesday the membership is hoping to get Bellinger again within the outfield sooner or later this summer season, however didn’t specify a timeline (relayed by Meghan Montemurro of the Chicago Tribune).
Bellinger will attempt to decide up the place he left off earlier than the damage. The previous MVP has been having fun with one thing of a bounce-back season in Chicago. He’s hitting .271/.343/.493 over 163 journeys to the plate. Not peak kind, however much better than his outcomes from his remaining two seasons in Los Angeles. The development is essentially attributable to him chopping his strikeout charge from round 27 % to 19 % this 12 months.
His return displaces Mervis, who heads again to the minors for the primary time since he was known as up on Might 5. The Duke product tore up minor league pitching in 2022 and began this season with a .286/.402/.560 displaying in Triple-A. He couldn’t carry that success over in his first take a look at large league arms. Mervis hit .167/.242/.289 over his preliminary 27 MLB video games, hanging out in 32 of his 99 journeys to the plate.
There’s little sense for the Cubs in relegating him to a bench position, as he’s nonetheless a possible key offensive piece for the group transferring ahead. With Bellinger at first base and Chicago utilizing a rotation at designated hitter — Trey Mancini, Christopher Morel, Patrick Knowledge, Miles Mastrobuoni and Ian Happ have break up the final 5 DH begins — the clearest path for Mervis to get constant reps was by sending him again to Iowa.