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Cody Bellinger banged up with rib injury as Cubs topple Astros

1 month agoTony Andracki

For a team that has dealt with a slew of injuries to key players already this season, Cubs nation held its collective breath Tuesday night.

Star outfielder Cody Bellinger left Tuesday night’s game early with a right rib contusion. He collided with the Wrigley Field wall in the top of the 4th inning trying to make a catch and was seen on the bench talking to Cubs coaches about his right side/back:

However, the news was all positive after the Cubs put the finishing touches on a 7-2 victory over the Astros. X-rays were negative on Bellinger’s ribs and he was encouraged with how he felt after the game.

“I’m actually happy with where I’m at right now, post adrenaline wearing off,” Bellinger said. “So in a good spot right now with how it feels. Tomorrow morning, gonna wake up, see how I feel and we’re gonna go from there.”

Bellinger hopes to be back in the lineup Wednesday. He described it as a “dull pain” that is exacerbated more when he takes deep breaths than by doing rotational movement like swinging.

When the collision with the wall first happened in the 4th inning, Bellinger didn’t feel anything. But as the night wore on, he felt a little more uncomfortable and the decision was made to ultimately come out of the game in the 6th inning and get checked out.

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Prior to the injury, Bellinger hit a 2-run homer in the 1st inning Tuesday against the Astros. The blast was Bellinger’s 5th homer of the season and he leads the Cubs with 17 RBI.

When Bellinger left the game, Mike Tauchman moved from right field to center for the top of the 7th while Alexander Canario came in the game to play right.

If Bellinger does have to miss time — even a couple of days — Tauchman will likely take over center field. He hit a pair of home runs in Tuesday night’s victory.

It was the Bellinger injury last May -— ironically, against the Astros in Houston — that opened the door for Tauchman to come up to the big leagues and carve out a role for himself on his hometown tea.

“I try to make myself available for 162-plus,” Tauchman said. “Hopefully he’s OK. He’s a huge, huge part of our team and I think everybody saw this offseason how much we want him here and the impact that he has on our lineup. … Good teams have depth and good teams have guys step up and that’s what we intend to do.”

The Cubs are already without one of their best hitters in Seiya Suzuki, who has missed the last week with an oblique injury and is expected to be out until sometime in May. Ian Happ sat out the weekend against the Marlins after tweaking a hamstring injury that limited him in spring (though he returned to the lineup Tuesday). 

The Cubs have also received only 2 starts combined from the top 2 members of the rotation — Justin Steele and Jameson Taillon. Steele injured his hamstring on Opening Day while Taillon was slowed by a back injury and made his season debut last week against the Marlins (Taillon is lined up to pitch Wednesday against the Astros). 

Kyle Hendricks and Drew Smyly were added to the IL Tuesday, joining high-leverage reliever Julian Merryweather.

Despite the injuries, manager Craig Counsell has been proud of the way his team has fought through adversity this season. The Cubs are now 14-9 after beating the Astros Tuesday.

“This is a baseball season,” Counsell said before Tuesday’s game. “This is how it works. There’s going to be that stuff thrown at you. It doesn’t have to all go right.

“You just have to show up the next day and play a good baseball game, no matter what’s going on. And so I think we’ve handled that stuff really well.”

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