Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
The last few months have not been easy for AJ Pollock and his family as not only did he have to prepare for the season, but he and his wife Kate had a daughter that was born prematurely and forced to stay in the hospital for 130 days.
On top of that, Pollock also dealt with coronavirus (COVID-19) before reporting to Summer Camp. Now that the season has started, things are looking up for Pollock. Most importantly, he and his wife recently got to take their daughter, Maddi, home for the first time.
“It was amazing and it was chaos. I had to get it done pretty quick, because I knew I wanted to get back. But it was awesome. It was a long time coming. We’ve been waiting for this day for 130 days,” Pollock said during the four-game series at Chase Field.
“Getting her home, having all her firsts, she’s been staring at the ceiling of a hospital for four months, so just seeing the ceiling in our house was overwhelming for her. It was great. It was awesome.”
Then on the field, Pollock is off to a hot start at the plate, hitting .370/.433/.704 with three doubles, two home runs and four RBI in his first eight games to begin the season.
“I feel good. As a player you think you’ve got to get your mechanics, do this and that. Really, if you’re up there and feeling good, I think that’s No. 1,” Pollock said. “In some ways maybe it just got me to keep it simple.
“I’ve got a lot of other stuff going on, so while I’m at the field, all this other stuff I probably used to do, maybe put that aside and focus on the important stuff. Take care of business and go out there like it’s a pickup game of basketball. You just go out there and compete. It’s worked so far. I’ve had a couple fortunate hits, but I do feel pretty good out there and like I can compete against.”
With everything he has gone through this year, Pollock is excited to just be on the field playing with his teammates.
“It’s great to be out there. To get here has been a journey. I showed up late to Summer Camp, I had coronavirus, and all the stuff I had to go through to be able to play, now we’re playing, I’m having fun being here,” he said.
It’s no secret that Pollock has endured his share of injuries, but he believes those experiences have not only helped him become better on the field, but also at home now as he and his wife navigate the new challenge of their first child.
“I think I’ve gotten better and better at that. It’s tough. I’ve had injuries, so you’re fighting to get back, and it’s kind of a similar situation with what’s going on with my daughter and trying to get her through the hospital,” Pollock explained. “My wife’s frustrated and it’s day after day in the hospital.
“I feel like I’ve gotten much better just taking everything day to day, not getting too up or too down, and just going out there and getting your work done but not really dwelling on stuff. The situation I’ve been in, it’s forced me to put stuff behind me pretty quick. I’ve learned a lot.”
He finished by admitting that his perspective on baseball has now changed and overworking is something he plans on avoiding for the rest of his career.
“I put a lot into baseball and it’s kind of weird because you learn all that hard work gets you to a certain level. When you’re overworking or overdoing it, it’s not really because you need to,” he reflected. “It’s just more work to do it. Really, you should just be putting in the work, trusting yourself and going out there and competing like it’s pickup basketball.
“I think it’s helped me to take a step back. When I’m away from the field, enjoy that time. When I’m at the field, put in your work and be prepared but there’s no need to overdo it. Go out there, have fun and compete. I love competing, I love playing this game. Trust all the work you’ve put in your whole life.”
Roberts impressed by Pollock to start the season
It’s hard not to be impressed with what Pollock has accomplished so far this season, and Dodgers manager Dave Roberts recently heaped his praise after a strong series against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
“AJ has done great. I don’t know how he’s been able to compartmentalize what’s going on in his life. His baby has been in the NICU, traveling to Arizona to meet with his wife and get the baby home, to come back and not miss a beat, it’s remarkable,” Roberts said.
“AJ is a guy that does everything right, so it’s really good to see him get off to a good start.”
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events and more!