Cubs’ Bellinger back from IL, not ‘fully pain-free’

Sports

CHICAGO — The Chicago Cubs activated center fielder Cody Bellinger from the injured list while placing pitcher Daniel Palencia on it, the team announced Tuesday afternoon.

Bellinger, 28, has been out with a rib injury since running into the wall at Wrigley Field on April 23. He’ll be the designated hitter Tuesday and Wednesday against the San Diego Padres before the team decides if he is ready to play the outfield again.

Bellinger said he is not 100% healed yet.

“It takes a bit of time to be fully pain-free,” he said Tuesday before the game. “It’s a matter of pain tolerance. I feel like I’m in a good spot with it.”

Bellinger took batting practice Monday, ran the bases and performed drills in the outfield before being cleared.

“Ribs feel good,” Bellinger said. “Had a good test, facing some live pitching. Felt like it was a good time to come back.”

Bellinger was hitting .226 with five home runs and an OPS of .760 before his injury. The Cubs could also play him at first base moving forward as rookie Pete Crow-Armstrong has played well in center field since being called up from Triple-A Iowa. The plan, though, is eventually to get Bellinger back in center field.

“You want to have your best players in the lineup,” manager Craig Counsell said. “You want to put your best team out there as much as you can. Getting Cody back puts us in a step in the right direction.”

Outfielder Alexander Canario was optioned to Triple-A Iowa to make room for Bellinger on the roster.

Palencia was placed on the injured list after feeling pain in his right shoulder on the final pitch he threw in Monday’s win over San Diego. The team is awaiting MRI results to determine his next course of action. Right-hander Keegan Thompson was recalled from Triple-A to take his place.

Joining Canario in Iowa will be right fielder Seiya Suzuki, who will begin a two-day rehab assignment before joining the big league team in Pittsburgh on Friday. He has been out since mid-April after injuring his right oblique while running to first base.

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