The Los Angeles Dodgers have thrived through the first half of the 2019 season despite several injuries to their veterans. One of the more notable setbacks came when A.J. Pollock was forced to undergo elbow surgery in May to remove a metal plate that had previously been inserted.
Pollock had suffered an infection in the elbow, and a PICC line inserted into his left arm to deliver antibiotics kept him away from baseball activities until it was removed in mid-June. It was the same elbow that had been operated on twice while Pollock was a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Pollock is currently targeting a rehab assignment during the All-Star break. If all goes well, he will return immediately after the break, when the Dodgers play the Boston Red Sox in a 2018 World Series rematch.
As he’s been able to increase his level of activity, Pollock is encouraged with his progress, according to Bill Plunkett of the Southern California News Group:
Injured outfielder A.J. Pollock took batting practice on the field with the team Tuesday, the first time since he injured his right elbow in late April. Pollock said he is “doing pretty much everything” in workouts and his recovery from surgery to remove the hardware inserted in the joint after a fracture in 2016 has “been really smooth.”
During his first six seasons on the D-Backs, Pollock earned a reputation as a productive but injury-prone presence in the middle of the lineup. He signed a four-year, $60 million contract with the Dodgers in January and became the team’s Opening Day center fielder.
He got off to a good start at the plate in the first week of the 2019 season before his production tailed off. Alex Verdugo has become the Dodgers’ primary center fielder in his absence.
Verdugo has generally done well in Pollock’s absence and will likely remain an everyday player when Pollock returns. However, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts recently said that Pollock would return to his starting role.
That would shift Verdugo to left field, and with National League MVP candidate Cody Bellinger entrenched in right field, the Dodgers have recently been experimenting with Joc Pederson at first base.
Pederson has struggled defensively so far at his new position. However, his ability to play there gives the Dodgers a chance to platoon Pederson and David Freese at first with Max Muncy shifting over to second more consistently. Freese is also currently on the injured list but is expected to return on July 1.
The Dodgers will have to create a 40-man roster spot for Pollock’s return, as he was transferred to the 60-day injured list to make room for Edwin Rios’ call-up to the Majors.