Kirk Gibson’s vote of confidence propels A.J. Pollock’s career day
Pencilled in as the Diamondbacks’ two-hole hitter for Wednesday’s series finale versus the Pirates, A.J. Pollock was in the throes of an 0-for-14 slump. Two hours, 52 minutes, and a manager’s vote of confidence later, the 25-year-old outfielder was 3-for-5 with a pair of home runs, a double, four RBI, a stolen base and a spectacular diving catch to his name.
“I had a hunch,” Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson said of his decision to bat Pollock second in his batting order.
Pollock delivered immediately, hitting a double to the left-center field gap in the first inning before scoring on a throwing error by Pirates’ starter Jonathan Sanchez. It was the first run of many for the Diamondbacks, who ultimately won 10-2 to salvage a win in the final game of the series.
“I caught a break,” he explained of his first-inning run, which began as a stolen base attempt, “and I kind of was thinking, ‘Hey, maybe it will be my day today’ after that.”
Pollock’s terrorization of Sanchez continued into his following two at-bats, both resulting in home runs, and the left-hander was ousted after just 3.1 innings. It would be his first multi-homer game as a professional baseball player, as he managed just two in 81 at-bats with the Diamondbacks last season.
Pollock, who batted seventh and went 3-for-4 on Opening Day, made the team’s roster after outfielders Adam Eaton and Cody Ross suffered injuries during spring training. He has since played in six of the Diamondbacks’ nine games.
Fellow outfielder Alfredo Marte — who also made the Opening Day roster due to the Eaton and Ross injuries — is off to a .308 start, after reaching base four times and hitting an RBI double on Wednesday.
Now, with Ross due back as early as Tuesday, Pollock will need another assurance from his manager in order to stay with the big league team.
“We’re not talking about that (decision),” a smiling Gibson said after Wednesday’s game. “We’re talking about winning a game. Can we just cherish this for a second?”
Uncertain as his future is, that’s all Pollock can do after performances like Wednesday’s.