The return of A.J. Pollock to the Diamondbacks lineup tonight didn't lasted long. For in the third inning of this evening's penultimate preseason contest against the Royals, A.J. Pollock stood on third base with one out, representing the tying run. David Peralta hit the ball to second, and the fielder came home to try and nail Pollock, but he slid headfirst across the bag to even the score. Unfortunately, when he pushed himself back up off the ground, his healing elbow apparently was not strong enough, and A.J. went back down again, in obvious pain. He eventually left the field under his own steam, but obviously in discomfort and upset.
There was no initial word from the team, and there was hope it was perhaps no more than a slight relapse. However, after the game, the news could hardly have been worse:
Chip Hale says A.J. Pollock suffered a fractured right elbow and will require surgery.— Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) April 2, 2016
Right now, there is no indication of how long he'll be out for, but it's safe to presume we are talking months, rather than weeks. We already discussed potential replacements, but now we are talking over a significantly longer-term. While Socrates Brito seems likely to be the everyday center-fielder in Pollock's absence, the choice of a fourth outfielder now becomes more significant, as whoever it is may well end up being on the roster for most of the first half, at least. According to Hale, the team will have a better idea of the timeframe tomorrow.
But on virtually the eve of the 2016 season, this is a tough blow for Arizona: it's reminiscent of what happened in the 2014 spring, with our Opening Day starter Patrick Corbin being pulled in his last warm-up start, eventually requiring Tommy John surgery and missing the entire season. While the prognosis for Pollock isn't as long-term, he was an All-Star last year, and save Paul Goldschmidt, there were likely no Diamondbacks more valuable to the team last season. We wish A.J. a speedy recovery, and it looks like we'll be finding out if Socrates Brito can live up to our expectations sooner than expected.