Dodgers’ Bellinger ready to come off IL, to start Saturday

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Cody Bellinger is ready to return from a broken leg that’s sidelined him for nearly two months.

Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Friday the 2019 NL MVP will start in center field on Saturday and Sunday against San Francisco.

Bellinger has been out since April 5 with a hairline fracture in his left fibula. The World Series champion Dodgers went through a rough patch without him but have since won 13 of 15 and sit a half-game behind the NL West-leading San Diego Padres.

Los Angeles entered Friday 1 1/2 games ahead of the Giants.

Bellinger batted .305 with 47 homers during his MVP season but wasn’t as sharp during Los Angeles’ 2020 title run, hitting .239 with 12 homers in a pandemic-shortened regular season.

The 25-year-old was 4 for 19 (.211) in four games this season before being sidelined by the injury.

In five rehab games with Triple-A Oklahoma City, Bellinger is 4 for 20 with two home runs, 3 RBIs, one walk and has struck out four times. He took live batting practice against Dodgers reliever Brusdar Graterol, who is also rehabbing.

Utility player Zach McKinstry is also expected to return from injury Saturday, but Roberts was unclear how he will use him or if he’ll start this weekend. McKinstry has been out since April 22 with an oblique strain.

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