Paul Goldschmidt and A. J. Pollock give the Arizona Diamondbacks a formidable top of the lineup.
Centerfielder A.J. Pollock and first baseman Paul Goldschmidt returned to the Arizona Diamondbacks in time for the final week of spring training. Given this short period, both told Venom Strikes they are anxious to rejoin their teammates and resume the business of preparing for the season.
In Pollock’s case, the native of Marlborough, Conn. is back from a groin injury. While the malady did not appear that serious, the medical and training staff took precaution with Pollock and his medical history.
During the next-to-last preseason game last year, Pollock fractured his right elbow when he slid across home plate in a game against the Kansas City Royals. That injury sidelined Pollock for most of the last season. This time, extra time was taken, and Pollock told Venom Strikes that turned into a positive.
"This took a little longer than I wanted but trust the medical staff completely. I feel good and looking to get more at-bats."
In his first game back last Friday against the Dodgers at Camelback Ranch, Pollock flew to center, struck out and walked. As manager Torey Lovullo has said throughout spring training, this is not about results but the process. The plan is to get Pollock healthy and ready for opening day.
Against the Dodgers, the 29-year-old leadoff and that represents his usual spot in the line-up. Goldschmidt hit third against the Dodgers, but Lovullo said these players are not locked into these spots in the order.
More from Diamondbacks News
- What is the Rule 5 Draft? How does it impact Diamondbacks?
- Former Diamondbacks SP Robbie Ray wins AL CY Young!
- Bannister the bench coach, yet another great hire by the Diamondbacks
- The king of Chase Field should be signed by the Diamondbacks
- The Goat has come to the Diamondbacks to save the day
Since Goldschmidt played sparingly in the recently-completed World Baseball Classic (he went 1-for-13 in five games), the plan calls for extra swings in the batter’s box. That could mean playing in minor league games, and Goldschmidt told Venom Strikes after his first game back against the Dodgers on Friday, any plan is fine.
"I love to play and if this means getting a few times up, that’s okay. Right now, everyone wants to be on course for opening day and the time is short. So, if I can get some extra swings, that would be good. Then again, that depends on how you feel."
For now, Pollock seems healthy, but the Diamondbacks are keenly aware of his health history. Should he remain steady and in the line-up, Lovullo told Venom Strikes that his value is immense.
"(Pollock) can beat you in so many ways. He is a very dynamic player and has all the qualities you look for in one of your best players."
More roster moves
Before Saturday’s game against the Angels, the Arizona Diamondbacks reduced their roster by two players. Optioned to Triple-A Reno was right-hander Zack Godley. Also, right-hander, Kevin Jepsen was released. The team has 37 players remaining in camp.
In the bullpen?
Veterans J. J. Hoover and Tom Wilhelmsen continue to push for bullpen jobs. In eight appearances this spring, Hoover has yet to allow a run and Wilhelmsen’s ERA stands at 1.08 (eight appearances) before Saturday’s game with the Los Angeles of Angels.
Despite their individual successes this spring, manager Torey Lovullo told Venom Strikes the organization is still determining the worth of these relievers.
"Both threw the ball very well (Friday against the Dodgers), but we have not made any decisions. We’re still evaluating, but we’re drilling down quickly."
On the diamond Saturday
In his next-to-last start this spring, Taijuan Walker told Venom Strikes he has enough time to correct flaws in his mechanics.
Allowing two home runs and four runs in the first inning Saturday against the Angels, Walker finished with three earned runs and surrendered two homers in 4.1 Innings of work. Afterward, the told Venom Strikes that the Angels had a certain level of familiarity.
"I faced these guys before and they know I throw fast balls. The first homer (in the first inning by Albert Pujols) was a fast ball up and the second (to catcher Carlos Perez in the fourth) was a slider. After the first inning, I threw more quality pitches."
For the game, the Angels defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks, 7-4 before a sell-out crowd of 9,590 at Tempe Diablo Stadium. The loss brought the Diamondbacks’ spring mark to 13-12-2 with five games remaining on their spring training schedule.
In mid-season form
In an event which does not often transpire in spring training game, Angles’ manager Mike Scioscia was ejected from Saturday’s game. After he had questioned a strike called against Cameron Maybin in the third inning, Scioscia was tossed by Mike Casciopo, the plate umpire.
On Sunday, the Arizona Diamondbacks return to Salt River and engage the Cleveland Indians at 1:10 p.m. Former Arizona first round pick Trevor Bauer is slated to start for the Tribe and the Diamondbacks will go with lefty Robbie Ray.