Arizona Diamondbacks CF A.J. Pollock proclaims himself ‘ready to go’ for Opening Day
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Whatever concerns the Arizona Diamondbacks may have had regarding the possibility of opening the 2016 season without their all-star centerfielder are over, at least according to said outfielder.
Following a three-hit performance in an intrasquad game Tuesday on the backfields at Salt River Fields, A.J. Pollock made it clear where he plans to be April 4, when the D-backs host the Colorado Rockies on Opening Day.
“I’m ready to go; ready to go,” he said.
OK then; case closed.
Now it appears the only question remaining is if Pollock, whose been dealing with soreness in his right elbow for much of the month, plays in the last two games of the spring against the World Series champion Kansas City Royals at Chase Field this weekend.
That’s the hope of manager Chip Hale; though if Pollock does play, then the D-backs lose the ability to retroactively place Pollock on the disabled list.
“Then we’re committed,” Hale said. “He has to be pretty sure he’s ready to go. He’s feeling better every time he goes out there and plays; getting more confident. That’s what we’re looking for.”
Told of Hale’s comments, Pollock said, “He’s the boss. I’m just out there getting at-bats; doing my thing every single day that they tell me to do. If he says that’s the plan, that’s the plan.”
Pollock has not played in a Cactus League game since March 8.
In other words, he has fallen behind in the number of at-bats big league hitters need to be season-ready. And the at-bats Pollock has received have come mainly against minor-league pitching.
“I faced Zack (Greinke) today for four at-bats. I think that’s worth about 30 at-bats,” he said, drawing laughter from reporters. “I had some tough at-bats. He just gets you really, really locked in. He such a good pitcher. He’s such a dynamic pitcher that can throw a million pitches and hit his spots. For me, four at-bats off of him is huge.”
Pollock went 2-for-4 with a run scored during Greinke’s three-plus inning appearance.
“I had one bloop single; another one that was kind of, maybe, an Arizona Cactus League hit up the middle,” Pollock said. “Felt good, felt pretty competitive against him, which is good. Just feels good to be playing.”
A day earlier, Pollock faced 23-year-old Archie Bradley, who had been in the mix to be the D-backs fifth starter. Pollock had two hits against the team’s No.1 prospect.
“He has to feel like he has enough at-bats under his belt that he can compete at the highest level,” Hale said. “We’ll trust what he says. If he feels like he’s not ready (or) Tony (LaRussa), Stew (Dave Stewart), myself, Mags (hitting coach Dave Magadan) says you know what, I think he needs another five days of minor-league at-bats then we’ll just put him on that DL and let him have those five games or if it takes longer; whatever it takes”
Again, Pollock made it sound like a DL stint would not be necessary.
“Timing and stuff, that’s not an issue (at the plate). I feel great,” he said. “We got the best training staff in the league, too, so I really, really appreciate what they’ve done. They put me in a spot. They did their job getting my elbow ready. I’ve been out there tracking pitches and when I can get my at-bats, I went out and got them. Had a good plan. Don’t really feel any anxiety with the number of at-bats. I feel great. So, I’m not too worried about that.”