Cubs News

Cubs activate crucial bat to boost offense, place young flamethrower in IL

2 weeks agoAndy Martinez

One of the most important bats is returning to the Cubs lineup.

Cody Bellinger was activated from the 10-day IL and will start at DH in Tuesday’s game against San Diego, manager Craig Counsell said on The Parkins & Spiegel Show on 670 The Score. Outfielder Alexander Canario was optioned to Triple-A to make room on the active roster.

Additionally, the Cubs placed Daniel Palencia on the IL with shoulder stiffness and recalled reliever Keegan Thompson, per Counsell.

Just two weeks after landing on the IL with a right rib fracture, Bellinger returns to provide reinforcement to a Cubs offense that has treaded water since he was hurt. Bellinger is third on the team in home runs (5) and RBI (17). Here’s how the team has performed before and after his injury:

Prior to April 24: T-5th in runs (130), 13th in BA (.246), 6th in OPS (.739), 4th fewest runners left on base (154)

Since April 24: 18th in runs (45), 20th in BA (.219), 21st in OPS (.650), 5th most runners left on base (89)

Bellinger’s return isn’t an immediate, fix-all solution, but it lengthens the Cubs lineup and eases the pressure on younger hitters like Michael Busch and Christopher Morel. Those two have been two of the best hitters for the Cubs this season, but, especially in Busch’s case, the league will adjust to young players, meaning there’ll be slumps for them along the way. Bellinger’s track record and skillset helps mitigate that.

Couple Bellinger’s return with the impending arrival of Seiya Suzuki, who is beginning a rehab assignment Wednesday and things are looking up for the Cubs offensively. Both hitters formed a nice pairing in the 2 and 3 spots of the Cubs order to start the season.

Since their injuries, manager Craig Counsell has had to rely on Mike Tauchman and Ian Happ in those roles. Tauchman has picked up right where he left off last year, posting a .412 on-base percentage with an .865 OPS. Happ has started off slow, but still has a .349 OBP this season.

Canario was hitting .273/.360/455 with a home run in 25 plate appearances across 13 games this season. But the rookie hadn’t had a plate appearance since April 30, when he went 1-for-2 with a stolen base and a strikeout against the Mets.

Palencia, 24, was 0-1 with a 6.55 ERA in 11 innings across 7 games. He’s been inconsistent this year, but shown flashes at times, touching 101 mph on the radar gun.

Thompson is 1-0 with a 3.38 ERA in 7 games. He allowed 4 runs — 3 earned — on 3 hits on Saturday, without recording an out. It was his second straight outing allowing runs, after pitching 9.2 scoreless innings to open the season.

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