Having already endured stretches this season with Rich Hill, Clayton Kershaw, Russell Martin and Hyun-Jin Ryu, the Los Angeles Dodgers lost A.J. Pollock for the foreseeable future due to an infection in his right elbow that required surgery.
Pollock initially attempted to treat the infection with antibiotics, which coincided with Alex Verdugo receiving more starts in center field. Initially deemed available off the bench in the series opener against the San Francisco Giants, Pollock’s situation was revealed after the game.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts indicated a stint on the 10-day injured list was likely was the club would seek to determine a plan of action. Pollock was sidelined the following day and 48 hours later underwent a third elbow surgery of his career.
The procedure called for metal hardware (plate and screws) to be removed from the elbow as the joint was deemed to be in stable condition. That it became necessary because of a cut surprised Pollock, who vowed to be aggressive with the rehab process at the right time, per Ken Gurnick of MLB.com:
“The tiniest little cut, we kept it clean and all of a sudden it blew up on me,” Pollock said. “It was a shock it was this big of a deal. When I can push it, I’ll push it, for sure. It’s such a freak thing. I have a lot of respect for infections now. You can’t make this stuff up.”
The Dodgers have not laid out a timetable for Pollock’s return, but at minimum it won’t be until some point in July. He has a peripherally inserted central catheter (PICC) line in his left arm to treat the infection, and it will remain in place for six weeks.
The injury adds to a long list of issues Pollock has missed time with, including a fractured thumb, broken wrist and strained groin. His two prior elbow surgeries came in 2010 — one year after being selected by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the first round of the Draft — and the other in 2016.
In both instances he missed five months while recovering. Roberts has already said the Dodgers do not expect a similar case this time around, as the surgery was not nearly as severe.
Nevertheless, the Dodgers are forced to adjust while Pollock is out. Verdugo is the immediate beneficiary, but Roberts added Chris Taylor figures to see increased time in center field as well.