SAN DIEGO — The Los Angeles Dodgers activated first baseman Max Muncy off the injured list on Tuesday, returning a crucial left-handed bat to the middle of their lineup for the second game of a three-game series against the crosstown-rival San Diego Padres.
Muncy started at second base upon his return, with Albert Pujols getting the nod at first base against Padres left-hander Blake Snell.
Cody Bellinger, who hasn’t played since experiencing tightness in his left hamstring on June 11, is expected to be activated off the IL and start in center field for Wednesday’s series finale from Petco Park.
Muncy, who has hit 14 home runs and leads the National League with a .418 on-base percentage, suffered an oblique strain the same night Bellinger left with his hamstring injury. Muncy’s return, after missing what amounted to nine games, is a relatively quick one given his injury.
“The credit goes to Max, and the awareness of when he originally felt something to say something,” said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, adding that the time off also allowed Muncy to overcome what was initially described as a mild sprain in his right ankle.
“He’s had that [an oblique strain] before, and fortunately he’s learned,” Roberts said. “We got ahead of it, I think, and hopefully this is the last time we talk about this year.”