Signed to a five-year, $60 million contract this past winter, A.J. Pollock has oft become the forgotten outfielder in his first season with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Of course, it’s easy to be overshadowed by Cody Bellinger, who is in the midst of an MVP-caliber campaign. But Pollock has also taken a backseat to rookie Alex Verdugo and now a streaking Joc Pederson during various stretches.
Much of that can be attributed to the 31-year-old undergoing elbow surgery in May that sidelined him for six weeks. Albeit in a loss to the San Francisco Giants on Friday night, Pollock had his moment in the spotlight.
A solo home run broke a scoreless tie in the second inning, and Pollock’s leadoff homer in the fifth trimmed into the Dodgers’ deficit. He then pulled them within one run with a third solo homer in the ninth inning.
Pollock credited the career night to simplifying his approach at the plate, as seen on SportsNet LA:
“I think I just tried to dumb it down a little bit and get a good pitch to hit. I don’t know, some days it works. I got my pitches and put good swings on them. … I just simplified my game a little bit. Just get a good pitch to hit. That’s pretty much it.”
The multi-homer game was Pollock’s first with the Dodgers and fifth of his career. It marked the first time he slugged three home runs since doing so for the Arizona Diamondbacks on April 30, 2018, coincidentally also at Dodger Stadium.
Just over two weeks prior to that career night, Pollock had a two-homer game on the road against the Dodgers.
He’s now up to 13 home runs this season and is one of the franchise-record 11 players to have reached double digits. Pollock additionally contributed to the Dodgers breaking the 2000 Houston Astros’ National League record with 250 home runs.
Of greater significance, however, is Pollock’s overall success at the plate since returning after the All-Star break and his willingness to play left field. Bellinger has been moved into center field, where he’s expected to primarily spend his team through the postseason.