One of the best things for the Arizona Diamondbacks starting spring training is that center fielder A.J. Pollock has returned. He is confident, healthy and ready for a season he hopes surpasses that of 2015 when he enjoyed his breakout year in the big leagues.
The center fielder, who is 29, said he was only living the present, and things every day were getting better including his swing and his defense.
Last year, Pollock was amongst the biggest reasons there was so much optimism in spring training for Arizona. He was coming off a 2015 regular season where he averaged .315 with 20 homers, 39 doubles, 39 stolen bases and played 157 games.
That season he earned his first appearance in the All-Star Game. He also was the winner of a gold glove for the first time due to his outstanding defensive work in the outfield.
However, in a spring training game just three days prior to the start of the regular season in 2016, he slid into home plate followed by the dragging of his arm across home plate.
When he attempted to pick himself up, his right elbow gave him great pain. He was diagnosed with a fractured elbow which ended his 2016 season. He did return for 12 games to end the season.
There were tons of other problems with Arizona, but losing one of the two best overall players on the team was significant to the woes the team faced during last season.
He said this season that his elbow has not given him any pain to start spring training.
On Wednesday, Pollock was the leadoff batter for Arizona for the one inning he played, but his manager Torey Lovullo is not sure where he will have Pollock batting when the season begins in April.
Lovullo said Pollock was definitely a catalyst on offense, but he was also one of the few players of today who plays on both sides offensively and defensively. He called Pollock a defensive anchor on the team.
Pollock in turn spoke about how Lovullo has been good with him. He said the new manager arrived with a good message and the first meeting he held with the entire team ended up being excellent.
Pollock has yet to play during the postseason and he hopes that this season he and his teammates can change that. His positive start to spring he hopes will be a jump start to a successful 2017.