PHOENIX — Aside from Paul Goldschmidt, A.J. Pollock has been the Diamondbacks best player this season, leading the team in hitting and among the National League leaders in triples, slugging percentage, extra-base hits and total bases.
The 26-year-old center fielder had even begun to receive All-Star consideration.
But now, “he’s going to have surgery” manager Kirk Gibson announced on Sunday morning prior to the series finale against the Cincinnati Reds.
Pollock suffered a fractured right hand, the fourth metacarpal, when he was hit by a pitch from Johnny Cueto on a check swing in the eighth inning the night before.
“The bone is kind of upward,” said Gibson, who added hand specialist Dr. Don Sheridan will perform the surgery in the next day or two. “They’re going have to pull it in traction, straighten it out; probably put a plate on it. Ideally, they would like to put a pin in it, I guess, but I don’t know if they’re going to be able to that.”
Gibson mentioned Pollock could be sidelined “anywhere from five, six weeks to two months. That’s a guess.”
The Diamondbacks placed Pollock and his team-high .316 batting average on the 15-day disabled list and selected the contract of outfielder David Peralta from Double-A Mobile, where he was hitting .297 with 17 doubles, six home runs, 46 RBI and 33 runs scored in 53 games.
Pollock had not only found a home in the leadoff spot — hitting .444 (12-for-27) with six doubles, one triple, one home run, four RBI and nine runs scored in the past seven games — but had been playing a very solid centerfield.
“A.J. has been in the rotation virtually every day, so you take that away that obviously is going to change things. We have to figure out what the best way to proceed is,” said Gibson, who listed Gerardo Parra, Ender Inciarte and Peralta as centerfield options.
It was Inciarte getting the call—his sixth start in center—on Sunday.
“He’s a really, really solid defender,” Gibson said. “Offensively he’s kind of finding his way. He’s been working a lot every day with Turner and Henry Blanco. He’s made some strides. He’s making progress on it.”
Offensively is where the Diamondbacks will likely feel Pollock’s absence the most.
In his last 23 games, he was hitting .371 (33-for-89) with nine doubles, three triples, three home runs and 10 RBI; plus he had stolen eight consecutive bases.
“(Pollock) was our hottest offensive guy and so to lose him we’re going to miss some offense so we’re going to have to look at ways to make up that difference,” Gibson said.