After a two-game minor-league rehab assignment with the Iowa Cubs, Cody Bellinger is back with the Chicago Cubs as the team activated him from the IL ahead of their game against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Thursday night.
Bellinger's return from injury also comes with a new position as it would seem that he will serve as the team's first baseman for the time being as the corresponding roster move on Thursday was Matt Mervis being optioned to Triple-A Iowa.
As alluded to earlier today, where the Cubs are at this point in the season, the team must have their most talented players in the lineup as with a victory on Thursday night, the North Siders can move to within 3.5 games of first place in the National League Central division.
Mervis, for the potential that he has and has been evident in his hard-hit percentage at the Major League level, is not currently one of the Cubs' most talented players at the Major League level and should not be in the lineup when the team is trying to win games. Mervis is slashing .167/.242/.289 in 99 plate appearances at the Major League level this season with a wRC+ of 47.
Thursday's news is not an indictment of Mervis' future at the Major League level. Cubs' legend Anthony Rizzo had to go through a demotion before finding success at the Major League level. That is not to say that Mervis will turn into Rizzo but more than 99 plate appearances are needed for a sufficient data set.
With Bellinger returning and playing first base with the Cubs, Mike Tauchman will now get a run as the team's center fielder. Tauchman is slashing .299/.415/.343 through 83 plate appearances this season with a wRC+ of 120.
Thursday's roster move was an indicator that the Cubs' front office still believes the team can make a run at a postseason spot.