CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Cubs activated Cody Bellinger from the 10-day injured list on Tuesday, a big boost after the slugger missed two weeks because of broken ribs.

Bellinger batted third and was the designated hitter against the San Diego Padres in his first appearance since April 23. The 2019 NL MVP fractured two ribs on his right side when he ran into the center field wall at Wrigley Field trying to make a play against the Houston Astros.

“You want to have your best players in the lineup, you want to be able to put your best team out there as much as you can,” manager Craig Counsell said. “Getting Cody back puts us in a step in the right direction. We’re happy to have him back. He’s been a really good offensive player in this league. He’s been off a little bit, but confident that it was a short layoff and we can get him back in the swing of things quickly.”

The Cubs also placed right-handed pitcher Daniel Palencia on the 15-day injured list because of a strained right shoulder. They recalled right-hander Keegan Thompson from Triple-A Iowa and optioned outfielder Alexander Canario to the minor league club.

Outfielder Seiya Suzuki (strained right oblique) was headed to Iowa to play Wednesday and Thursday and could return this weekend at Pittsburgh, Counsell said, giving the Cubs another big bat in the lineup. He has not played since April 14.

Bellinger, meanwhile, was ready to go. Though he’s not pain free, he woke up feeling well enough to return after facing live pitching on Monday.

“It’s more mentally draining than obviously physically draining, just watching and wanting to be out there every night,” Bellinger said. “I’m glad to be back and ready to get back into the flow of things again.”

Counsell said the plan was to have Bellinger serve as the DH on Tuesday and probably Wednesday before deciding whether to play him in the field.

The 28-year-old Bellinger was batting .226 with five home runs and 17 RBIs entering Tuesday’s game. He was starting to heat up before the injury, going 10 for 30 with with three homers and seven RBIs during an eight-game hitting streak.

Bellinger hit .307 with 26 homers, 97 RBIs and 20 steals in 2023, his first season with the Cubs, regaining his form after a couple of down years. He re-signed with Chicago in February for an $80 million, three-year contract.

The Cubs were 21-15 and trailed NL Central leader Milwaukee by a few percentage points entering Tuesday’s game, despite dealing with their share of injuries. Ace Justin Steele returned Monday to one of baseball’s best rotations after being sidelined since the season opener because of a strained left hamstring. The lineup is getting its key pieces back, with Bellinger returning and Suzuki just about ready.

“The starting pitching’s been amazing,” Bellinger said. “It shows the depth that we have as an organization as well. We kind of saw it in spring, and it really got shown to light here early on in the season.”