Chicago Cubs News: Cody Bellinger returns from IL, will DH out of the gate

The Chicago Cubs have weathered the injury storm and now this week they'll welcome back their two most valuable players from the 2023 season.
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Cody Bellinger will be back in the lineup on Tuesday night against the San Diego Padres, returning from his IL stint and jumping right back into things with the Chicago Cubs, avoiding a rehab assignment and giving the team a badly-needed shot in the arm offensively.

The Chicago Cubs are 21-15 and have the most wins in the National League Central, but since Bellinger left the lineup on April 23 they’ve gone just 7-6, so getting his bat back in the lineup should provide a boost.

Chicago's outfield of late has left plenty to be desired offensively. Mike Tauchman continues to string together professional AB after professional AB, but Ian Happ isn't doing much of anything when it comes to driving in runs or slugging and Pete Crow-Armstrong, while great with the glove, has a 63 OPS+ on the year.

Cubs hoping for Cody Bellinger to impact the offense immediately

Bellinger wasn't exactly lighting the world on fire before his injury, but his presence will carry some weight given his resume. He's batting just .226/.320/.440, but his OPS+ was well-above-average at 114 and his BABIP was sitting at just .215, which suggests he was getting unlucky rather than playing poorly. 

All his advanced metrics are close to, or better than, his career averages. His home run rate and walk rate were up, his strikeout rate was down, and his hard hit rate was right at about his career average. The point here is that the Cubs have weathered the storm. Justin Steele went down and the kids stepped up. 

Bellinger and Seiya Suzuki went down, and the kids stepped up. Now that Steele and Bellinger are back, imagine how much better this (already great) Cubs team could be, especially when you add Suzuki back into the mix soon, as well.