A. J. Pollock, centerfielder for the Arizona Diamondbacks, is an influential component in the line-up
Having fractured his right elbow three days before the start of the regular season, and to undergo surgery on the that elbow for the second time in six years, the future of Pollock was considered bleak and uncertain. Coming off a season where he was named to the National League All-Star team, earned a Gold Glove and achieved many personal bests, Pollock’s presence in the line-up was considered a principal piece of a puzzle, many hoped, was geared toward destiny.
Sliding almost innocently across the plate in a pre-season game against the Royals in Chase Field. Pollock’s elbow crumbled with contact. Immediately, manager Chip Hale had to consider replacements for Pollock both in the outfielder and in the batting order.
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Many believed Pollock’s season to be over, and preparation began for a healthy 2017 season. Determined to beat the odds of sitting out the entire season, Pollock quickly underwent an aggressive rehab period, and vowed to return before season’s end.
On Friday night against Cincinnati, Pollock returned the lineup, and though went 0-for-5, he recorded an important RBI late in the game, and gathered in six putouts in center.
Overall, Pollock never doubted his return and, going forward for the remainder of the Diamondbacks’ 32 games, he plans to play as often as Hale’s writes is name in the line-up.
“What we need to worry about his legs and his oblique,” Hale said before Saturday’s home game with Cincinnati. “Initially, we plan to use him two days on and one day off. With two off-days next week, we’ll see how this plays out.”
With Pollock back in the line-up, principals see a residual effort. When an important segment returns, players hope there is a lasting result.
“Anytime he’s in the line-up, there’s an upgrade,” said pitcher Archie Bradley. “We’re nearly in September, trying to win games and stay competitive. A guy like Pollock certainly adds to our team. He makes us better, no question here.”
Hale gave no timetable for the return of pitcher Shelby Miller, now pitching for Triple-A Reno. For Miller to return before this coming Thursday, Sept. 1, the Arizona Diamondbacks could have to make a roster move. If Miller is called up on Sept. 1, major league rosters expand to a maximum of 40-players on that day, so Miller would transition back on the Arizona roster.
At Reno, Miller started eight games and compiled a 5-1 record. An ERA at 3.91, Miller allowed 55 hits in 50.2 innings, walked 10 batters and fanned 55 hitters.
Catcher Chris Herrmann, on the disabled list since July 17 with a strained left hamstring, is back rehabbing with Reno. Herrmann played left field Friday night, and was scheduled to catch Saturday.
Herrmann could be another Sept. 1 call-up in which the Arizona Diamondbacks would not be required to burn a roster spot on the current 25-man roster.