When the Los Angeles Dodgers signed outfielder A.J. Pollock to a four-year contract in January, his arrival immediately filled two important needs for the club.
One being that Pollock is a right-handed batter, which the Dodgers prioritized after trading Matt Kemp and Yasiel Puig to the Cincinnati Reds, in addition to the departures of Brian Dozier and Manny Machado in free agency.
The other box Pollock checks off is that he has vast experience in the leadoff spot, which is something the Dodgers have lacked ever since trading Dee Gordon in 2014.
The 2015 All-Star is also versatile enough in which he can move around the lineup — providing Dodgers manager Dave Roberts more flexibility.
Pollock doesn’t have a preference on where he appears on the lineup card and is open to any fit that Roberts deems best for him, via Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times:
“The goal as a hitter is to put a good at-bat together and get on base — whether that’s in the leadoff spot or two, three, four, five, it doesn’t matter,” Pollock said. “You try to do that every at-bat. There’s not a spot in the order I wouldn’t feel comfortable with. Wherever they want me, wherever the fit is, I’m up for it.”
While Pollock is comfortable being penciled in any spot in the starting lineup, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts recently admitted that the 31-year-old fits best at the top of the order.
Pollock has been a leadoff hitter in 172 career starts, and hit second in 135 games. The 31-year-old has not started more than 69 games (cleanup) in any other spot in a lineup over his career.
Pollock has seen the majority of his starts at the leadoff spot this spring, while also being slotted in the cleanup spot and fifth on occasion.