The Los Angeles Dodgers didn’t make a lot of changes to their roster this past offseason, but one of their big free-agent signings was inking former Arizona Diamondbacks center fielder A.J. Pollock to a four-year contract.
The move was criticized by many not because of Pollock’s play on the field, but because he has had trouble staying on it in recent years as injuries have hampered him. The Dodgers nonetheless remained confident that was more a product of bad luck than Pollock being injury prone.
His career with Los Angeles got off to a bit of a rocky start, although it was off set by the Dodgers playing well as a team. The 31-year-old then went down with another injury at the end of April as his previously surgically-repaired elbow got infected, forcing him to undergo another surgery.
Since the surgery, Pollock’s rehab has gone according to plan and he is getting close to the point where he can remove the PICC line and resume baseball activities.
He is still a few weeks away from returning and likely will require a lengthy rehab assignment to get back to being Major League ready. But when he is able to return, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts anticipates Pollock regaining his starting center field job, via Ken Gurnick of MLB.com:
“When A.J. comes back, he’s going to play,” said Roberts. “Right now, as we’re sitting here, I expect A.J. to play center field, that’s where he’s played. There’s one thing about keeping guys comfortable and challenging them. Right now, we’re definitely fine with A.J. in center field.”
Alex Verdugo began his rookie season as the Dodgers’ fourth outfielder, but he has done a nice job taking on a larger role in Pollock’s absence. The 23-year-old got off to an extremely hot start to the season but has begun scuffling a bit in recent weeks, which can potentially be attributed to a minor back injury he has been dealing with.
Getting Pollock back will be positive for the Dodgers because it will afford everyone extra days off when they have nagging injuries like the one Verdugo is dealing with now.
The Dodgers have continued to perform at a high level since Pollock has gone down though, so hopefully when he returns he can fit right back into the lineup and get back to being the All-Star caliber player that he was with the Diamondbacks.