The Los Angeles Dodgers started their final road series of the season with a 4-2 win against the Arizona Diamondbacks, allowing them to keep pace with the San Francisco Giants in the National League West.
AJ Pollock had his fingerprints all over the victory as he began his night by robbing Josh Rojas of a likely extra-base hit with a leaping catch at the wall.
Then in the top of the second, the 33-year-old hit a two-run homer that extended the Dodgers’ lead to 3-0.
In two starts since returning from the 10-day injured list, Pollock has shown no signs of being hampered by the Grade 2 right hamstring strain that sidelined him for nearly three weeks. “It’s feeling all right,” he said after the game.
“I’m going to gain more confidence the more games I play. I was always just going to push, push, push. Not cross that line but get right to that line and just keep being aggressive and aggressive. I was going to see where that was going to take me.
“I feel like we really were able to get out here earlier than we all thought from the beginning. It’s a credit to a lot of people putting in work. A lot of trainers. It was a ton of people.
“Even Minor League strength coaches came in and helped me out at the end, Minor League players came and threw to me. It was awesome. Big team effort. It’s feeling good. You kind of just have to keep getting reps, and you’ll start gaining more confidence with your runs and reads.”
While the recovery process for an injury — in particular a hamstring strain — typically involves a Minor League rehab assignment, Pollock was able to forgo one by participating in simulated games at Dodger Stadium and reporting to Camelback Ranch for additional work.
“That was hat’s off to the organization for letting me do that,” he said of the Dodgers letting him skip a more lengthy rehab assignment.
“Honestly, I wanted to stay in L.A. There were people to work on me. It was great for me to be able to stay back and work. They let me do that, which is a credit to them. There’s a lot of organizations that would say you have to do ‘this,’ and they were openminded. I’m appreciative of that.
“Then they got creative with how I can get at-bats. There were a couple guys from Rancho that had to throw a bullpen, and both of them came in and were able to give me good looks. It was fun. They were excited to be there and they helped me out big time. It was a big team effort.
“I’m very appreciative for allowing me to do that, and I think that’s a big reason why I’m here playing this early.”
Pollock focused on returning
When Pollock sustained his hamstring injury at the start of the month, there were concerns as to whether he would be able to return this season.
That was a never a question in his mind, however, as he stayed positive and worked hard to get back. “Honestly, I was just taking it day by day and kept pushing. That was my idea from the beginning,” Pollock explained.
“Push, stay aggressive and work every day. Come to the ballpark like I’m a ballplayer attacking rehab. I was going to keep doing that and see where it would take me. I didn’t know exactly where that was going to get us, and this is where it landed.
“I feel pretty good with where we’re at. I feel like our training staff and everyone involved should feel pretty good about it. I’m just going to keep gaining confidence out there. You’ve got to keep putting in the work with a hamstring, and we’ll keep paying attention to it.”
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