Upon learning that he’d fractured his hand on Saturday after being hit by a pitch from Cincinnati’s Johnny Cueto, the Arizona Diamondbacks knew that they would be without outfielder A.J. Pollock for an extended period of time. Pollock will undergo surgery in the coming days to further assess the damage to his hand, but manager Kirk Gibson is speculating that he’ll be forced to miss at least five to eight weeks.
That could keep Pollock out of the lineup until the July trade deadline, potentially, and the injury could have come at a worse time for the team.
Mired in last place in the NL West, the D’backs have struggled to overcome injuries this season. Starting pitcher Patrick Corbin and setup man David Hernandez both were shut down prior to Opening Day. Each needed to undergo Tommy John surgery and will miss the entire season. Matt Reynolds, another reliever, underwent the same procedure in September and it’s unclear if he’ll be available to pitch at all this year. Mark Trumbo got off to a strong start supplying some power to the lineup, until he landed on the DL with a stress fracture in his foot. He’s only managed to take swings off a tee and may not return until July.
Pollock has gotten off to a subpar start to the season, but had turned things on of late. He hit .375/.427/.659 during the month of May, bringing his line up to .316/.366/.554 for the season in 192 plate appearances. He leads the D’backs in hitting, with only Paul Goldschmidt even close to batting .300 or better on the year (he’s at .299).
The 26 year old is also among the Top 10 in the National League in a handful of offensive categories: triples (4, 2nd), doubles (16, 7th), extra base hits (26, tied for 8th), and slugging percentage (tied for 7th).
How Arizona manages to align their outfield in the wake of Pollock’s injury remains in question. Gerardo Parra will most likely slide over to play center field, opening up time in right for some combination of Ender Inciarte, Tony Campana, and David Peralta (who was just called up from Double-A to replace Pollock on the active roster). None has a strong offensive track record, even in the minor leagues.
Losing Pollock for a significant stretch of time and faced with the reality that they don’t have much in terms of internal replacements, the D’backs could become more inclined to acquire an outfielder from outside the organization to help fill that void. The team won’t pursue a big name option in all likelihood, as it’d make little sense given their place in the standings, but a low-cost acquisition shouldn’t necessarily be ruled out.