© Sarah Morris, 2020
When AJ Pollock joined the Los Angeles Dodgers in January 2019, most Dodger fans rejoiced. While with the Arizona Diamondbacks, Pollock was a Dodger killer. After a rough 2019 season, he rebounded.
In January 2019, Dodger President Andrew Friedman signed Pollock to a 4-year contract with a player option. Then, the Dodgers needed a right-handed center fielder. For the last two years, left-handed pitching dominated the Dodgers, and they did not have a true centerfielder. It was before the Dodgers moved Cody Bellinger to center field. Pollock was an All-Star and won a Gold Glove in 2015.
Pollock began his Dodger career well, but during an early trip to Wrigley Field, Pollock scaped his right elbow. The elbow became infected, and the infection spread to the hardware. Twice, Pollock had broken his right elbow and had it surgically repaired. Pollock again underwent elbow surgery to clean out the infection and remove the hardware holding the elbow together. Following the successful surgery, Pollock endured six weeks of IV to give him antibiotics.
After the All-Star break, Pollock returned to the Dodger lineup. During the 2019 season, in 86 games, Pollock hit .266 with an on-base percentage of .327, fifteen home runs, and 47 RBI. Since he lost his quickness defensively, the Dodgers moved Pollock to left field so that he could be platooned with Joc Pederson.
During the 2019 NLDS against the Washington Nationals that eventually won the world championship, Pollock was hitless with 11 strikeouts. Many Dodger fans took their frustration on Pollock, which was unfair. These fans wanted the Dodgers either to trade or to release Pollock, particularly after he had a poor 2020 spring training.
During the COVID-19 work stoppage, Pollock had both the virus and an extremely premature daughter who fought her life. Many people speculated whether Pollock would opt out for the season. His fierce competitiveness would not allow him to sit out of the season. In 55 games, Pollock had a .276 batting average, a .314 on-base percentage, 16 home runs, and 34 RBI. Through hard work, Pollock received his defensive quickness back. In the 2020 postseason, he struggled, but the Dodger lineup was deeper than in 2019, so less attention was on Pollock’s offensive failures.
When and if Friedman does not re-sign Pederson and Kiké Hernández, Pollock will play a more integral role on the Dodgers during the 2021 season.