Dodgers News: A.J. Pollock Believes Time Spent On Injured List While Recovering From Elbow Surgery Helped Him ‘Relax’

After signing a four-year, $60 million contract this past January to become the Los Angeles Dodgers’ biggest free-agency addition of the winter, A.J. Pollock had an underwhelming start to the 2019 season.

Over the first month, Pollock batted just .223/.287/.330 as the Dodgers’ primary center fielder. Then, he missed the next two-plus months after needing surgery to remove an infected metal plate from his right elbow.

Pollock has looked much better since returning after the All-Star break, however. In his six games back, Pollock has eight hits in 25 plate appearances, including three home runs.

Additionally, Pollock’s four-RBI game against the Boston Red Sox last week propelled the Dodgers to a 7-4 win in 12 innings to clinch the series against the team they fell to in the 2018 World Series.

Pollock recently credited his recent success to a more relaxed approach in the batter’s box and said his extended time on the injured list may have helped with that, per Jorge Castillo of the L.A. Times:

“Just being able to take a step back from everything, maybe this is a blessing that I got to take a step back and relax, calm down, and just get back after it,” Pollock said.

Despite the rough start to his time with the Dodgers, there is plenty of reason to believe that Pollock may make his contract worthwhile.

He has developed a reputation as a very productive hitter when healthy, often tormenting the Dodgers as a member of the division rival Arizona Diamondbacks. Over the first eight seasons of his career, all with the D-Backs, Pollock hit an impressive .281/.338.467.

Additionally, Pollock gives the Dodgers a needed right-handed bat to balance out their lefty-heavy outfield of Cody Bellinger, Alex Verdugo and Joc Pederson.

Although his defense in center field played a part in the Dodgers’ ninth-inning collapse against the Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday, the team seems committed to positioning Pollock there, going as far as experimenting with Joc Pederson at first base in order to keep him in the lineup with an outfield of Pollock, Bellinger and Verdugo.

However, all three young lefty outfielders have substantial experience playing center at the Major League level. Most Pederson and Bellinger’s time there came in previous seasons, while Verdugo primarily played there while Pollock was sidelined.