Playing in a Los Angeles Dodgers outfield that is headlined by MVP winners Cody Bellinger and Mookie Betts, and features a prominent power hitter like Joc Pederson, AJ Pollock was largely an afterthought heading into the 2020 season.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts regularly spoke highly of Pollock and expectations the team had, but also made it clear his role was likely to predicated on platooning in left field with Pederson. That has held true, but the universal designated hitter has provided Pollock with more opportunities than first expected.
The 32-year-old has made the most of them, with the latest instance coming against the San Francisco Giants. The Dodgers were trailing in the seventh inning when Pollock stepped up to bat with two runners on base.
Pollock thought he drew a walk on a 3-1 count but the inside pitch was called for strike. Pollock then deposited the next pitch from Tyler Rogers into the left-field pavilion for a go-ahead home run.
“With the result the way it was, I’m glad it was called a strike. At the time, I wasn’t really arguing. It was more just it was so loud. Our little cardboard cutout guys were going nuts today,” Pollock joked after the Dodgers’ comeback win.
“I couldn’t hear anything and I was trying to ask the umpire if it was a strike because I didn’t really hear anything. He was trying to talk to me, and I couldn’t hear him. It was just a mess. So that was kind of a weird situation. But it worked out really well.”
The home run was Pollock’s fourth, which is tied with Mookie Betts and Max Muncy for the team lead. Betts’ fourth also came on Sunday, as he provided insurance in the eighth inning.
“I feel really good, pretty consistent every day. Even the days when I don’t get any results, I feel like I’m in a good position to hit,” Pollock said. “I’m seeing the ball well, I’m competitive with my at-bats and I feel pretty good.”
Feeling comfortable with Dodgers
Beyond bouncing back from a disappointing regular season and horrendous showing in the playoffs, Pollock has overcome contracting coronavirus (COVID-19) and the scare of a daughter being born prematurely.
Though, he also found comfort in matters off the field as it’s better allowed him to reset after a day’s work. Pollock additionally continues to develop stronger relationships within the Dodgers clubhouse.
“It’s fun being around the guys. Last year I was just trying to stay afloat. I kind of had a rough stretch in the beginning, then the staph infection that kept me out and the playoffs were rough,” he said. “It just was weird stuff.
“This year I was excited because last year I realized we’ve got a great group of guys here. An awesome clubhouse, and I’m just enjoying being around different personalities on the team. And we get to play some baseball. We weren’t sure if we were going to be able to play this year. I’m just going to enjoy that and when the game is over, go home and enjoy my family.”
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