The A.J. Pollock who is said to be reactivated today may be better than the one that suffered an elbow fracture getting up from a slide at the end of spring training.
Despite the Diamondbacks being wrapped up in a lost year at 53-75, last place in the NL West, the return of their 28-year-old all-star outfielder is being treated as a celebratory moment of the 2016 season. Having undergone a surgery he called “delicate and complicated” after a screw inserted in his elbow six years prior had split in half, Pollock spent most the year recuperating, and when he resurfaced with his health intact, the question became, why bother coming back now?
Arizona manager Chip Hale says the question “upsets” Pollock.
“I guess you can ask the same question: Why not?” Hale told the media at Chase Field. “He’s healthy as can be. If we weren’t sure he’s 100-percent healthy, we wouldn’t bring him back. But it’s hard to be a baseball player or any athlete and miss a whole season of your sport. And he’s got plenty of games left to play.”
After ten rehab games among the Diamondbacks farm system—two games of rookie ball, six at High A Visalia, and four with Triple A Reno, Pollock is hitting .425/.511/.775 with 3 HR, 5 2B, and 2 SB. After putting up numbers like that, it was Reno’s manager who radioed Hale with the theory that Pollock looked like an even better player than the one who went under the knife following the preseason.
On Wednesday evening, his last game before his return, Pollock played center field went 3-for-5; a triple shy of the cycle and helped fuel a five-run comeback win for the Reno Aces. The Diamondbacks shifted outfielder Mitch Haniger to the minors to make room for Pollock on the big league roster.