I don’t like it, but the writing was on the wall when it was announced that Cody Bellinger would be playing first base for at least the immediate future. With Mike Tauchman playing excellent defense in center and serving as an on-base machine atop the lineup, plugging Bellinger in at first makes sense on a number of levels. What I don’t like is that the Cubs are doing it in part because his left knee still isn’t back to 100% health.
I also don’t like that Matt Mervis was optioned to make room, but my hope is that he treats this initial promotion the way Anthony Rizzo did with the Padres. After struggling in his first taste of the bigs in San Diego, Rizzo — who was then traded to the Cubs — destroyed minor league pitching and broke out in his first season in Chicago. Mervis should get another shot later this year and I think he’ll make the most of it.
Here’s the press release with more details.
The Chicago Cubs today activated outfielder Cody Bellinger from the 10-day injured list and optioned infielder Matt Mervis to Triple-A Iowa.
Bellinger, 27, was placed on the 10-day injured list May 19 (retroactive to May 16) with a left knee contusion suffered May 15 in Houston. The left-handed batter has hit .271 (39-for-144) with nine doubles, one triple, seven home runs, 20 RBI and an .830 OPS in 37 games for the Cubs this season.
Bellinger owns a .249 batting average (691-for-2,771) with 143 doubles, 20 triples, 159 home runs, 442 RBI and an .819 OPS in 782 major league games in seven seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers (2017-22) and Cubs. The 2017 N.L. Rookie of the Year, the 2019 N.L. Most Valuable Player, a two-time N.L. All-Star (2017, 2019), a 2019 Gold Glove Award winner and a 2019 Silver Slugger Award winner, Bellinger’s 159 home runs since the start of the 2017 campaign are seventh-most among left-handed hitters.
Selected in the fourth round of the 2013 Draft by the Dodgers out of Hamilton High School in Chandler, Ariz., Bellinger is the son of former major leaguer, Clay Bellinger.
Mervis, 25, hit .167 (15-for-90) with two doubles, three home runs and 11 RBI in 27 games for Chicago in his first career major league action after he was selected to the roster May 5.