It was announced yesterday that Cody Ross will be shut down for the next two to three weeks due to a lower left leg strain. While the 32-year old outfielder can still work in some hitting and throwing, the Arizona Diamondbacks will be extra cautious in bringing along their free agent catch. In fact, don’t be surprised if the team decides to put Ross on the 15-day disabled list when Opening Day hits on April 1st. That means there should be some heated competition for the fourth outfielder’s spot and a chance at making the club out of Spring Training for both A.J. Pollock and Tony Campana.
With Gerardo Parra set to assume Ross’s place in the lineup, Pollock and Campana will battle for the fourth outfielder’s spot, crucial as manager Kirk Gibson will probably look to replace Jason Kubel late in games for defensive purposes. Campana as the edge in Major League experience as he has had 317 at-bats in he bigs as opposed to 81 for Pollock. Campana also swiped 30 bases last season for the Chicago Cubs, good enough for ninth place in the National League. Pollock was the first round pick of the D’backs in 2009, drafted #17 overall. Besides being a first round pick, another advantage for Pollock is that he bats right-handed, affording Gibby to the opportunity to platoon Parra and him should the former struggle in an every-day role. At the moment, neither player has distinguished himself at the plate. Campana is hitting .200 with one walk in 15 at-bats while Pollock is hitting .238 with two walks in 21 at-bats. Campana has two RBI’s compared to Pollock’s zero while Pollock leads in stolen bases two to one.
Whoever wins the job between the two men could receive a decent amount of playing time come April and the chance to stay in Arizona if/when Ross comes off the DL. The loser will probably see the field a lot less and therefore earn a trip to Reno next month. So far, neither player seems in control of this battle. Perhaps one of them will play significantly better knowing a great opportunity awaits him at the finish line.
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