SAN DIEGO -- The Dodgers’ offense is off to a hot start, but it will be without star center fielder Cody Bellinger for a little longer than the team initially expected.
Bellinger, who is on the 10-day injured list after A’s pitcher Reymin Guduan cleated him on a close play at first base on April 6, underwent some more scans recently, and it was discovered that he has a hairline fracture in his left fibula.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts hesitated to put a timetable on Bellinger’s return, but he said the outfielder is no longer considered day to day, which was his designation before the scans revealed the fracture. Bellinger was eligible to come off the injured list before Friday’s game against the Padres at Petco Park.
“At least we know what Cody is dealing with,” Roberts said. “Certain players heal differently, so I just don’t know where Cody is going to be at. But I can say comfortably that it’s not a day-to-day thing, and we can just put it on the back burner, let Cody do his rehab and join us hopefully soon.”
Roberts added that Bellinger is still taking swings and was going through a workout in Los Angeles when Roberts called him earlier Friday. The rehab drills will be the same as they’ve been the past 10 days, which could help Bellinger’s progression.
“Now, it’s just more of getting that thing healed up, and when he’s ready to go, he’ll be back with us,” Roberts said. “He’s just rehabbing and doing everything he can to join us as soon as possible.”
The Dodgers’ offense has stayed hot despite not having the 2019 NL MVP in the lineup. Los Angeles recorded nine or more hits in four of its six games during its homestand that ended Thursday. The Dodgers went into Friday’s game with seven players with an OPS of 1.000 or higher.
Chris Taylor has handled most of the responsibilities in center field with Bellinger out, while Mookie Betts has also started two games at the position. AJ Pollock got the start in center on Wednesday, though he left the game in the seventh inning with a groin issue. Pollock was set to test the groin during pregame warmups Friday, and Roberts expected him to be available off the bench.
Bellinger is hitting .211 (4-for-19) with two RBIs in four games this season. The Dodgers are 6-1 since Bellinger went down with the injury.
Graterol close to a return
While the Dodgers received some bad news on the injury front with Bellinger’s hairline fracture, the team is getting closer to getting another weapon back to its bullpen mix.
Right-hander Brusdar Graterol, who has been on the injured list since the beginning of the season due to a slow buildup during Spring Training, has checked off all the boxes and will drive to San Diego on Friday, with the potential to be activated this weekend.
Graterol threw in a game at the alternate training site in Arizona on Thursday, and his arm was feeling good Friday morning, according to Roberts. The team will now decide whether to activate Graterol during the three-game set in San Diego or keep monitoring him and activate him during the two-game set in Seattle that begins Monday.
Graterol posted a 3.09 ERA in 23 regular-season appearances in 2020. He would give the Dodgers’ bullpen another high-leverage reliever. Los Angeles' bullpen allowed only one run over 19 innings during its recent 6-0 homestand.
Graterol will be part of the Dodgers’ taxi squad this road trip, along with outfielder DJ Peters, infielder Sheldon Neuse and catcher Keibert Ruiz.
Infielder Gavin Lux was a late scratch on Thursday with right wrist soreness. Roberts said Lux felt some discomfort after batting practice on Thursday, which led to the team pulling him out of the lineup.
Lux pinch-ran for Pollock in the seventh inning on Thursday, and the infielder was available to pinch-run again Friday. He was also available as a defensive replacement, if needed. But the Dodgers weren't counting on him for an at-bat off the bench.