Arizona Diamondbacks center fielder A.J. Pollock will undergo surgery to repair a fractured right elbow he injured while sliding into home Friday night. It is not certain how much time the 28-year-old Pollock will miss, but any disabled list tenure for the 2015 All Star adds pressure to a Diamondbacks club that is projected by many to win the National League West.
Over the offseason, Diamondbacks executives Tony Larussa and Dave Stewart invested an abundance of money and farm system talent to bring in Zack Greinke and Shelby Miller. That duo will anchor a rotation that also features Patrick Corbin, Rubby De La Rosa and Robbie Ray.
Pollock was expected to provide a jolt to a lineup that is highlighted by slugging first baseman Paul Goldschmidt. Names like infielders Chris Owings, Jean Segura, Nick Ahmed and Jake Lamb are not known for the OPS. Arizona’s first round pick (17th overall) in 2009 out of Notre Dame, Pollock finished fourth among National League position players in Wins Above Replacement last season. He batted .315 with a .865 OPS, 20 home runs, 76 RBI and 39 stolen bases in 2015.
In Pollock’s absence, Arizona desperately needs production from Cuban import Yasmany Thomas, who is slated to open the season in left field. The 25-year-old right-handed hitter signed a six-year, $68 million deal before 2015 but generated nine home runs and 48 RBI with a .273 average and a .707 OPS in 426 plate appearances last year. Tomas was impressive this spring, batting .462 (18-for-39) with a .1.129 OPS.
The Diamondbacks could turn to defensive-minded veteran Sam Fuld or top prospect Socrates Brito to fill in for Pollock. David Peralta, who is part of Arizona’s starting outfield plans, has played 15 Major League games in center field but is more comfortable in a corner spot.