By Greg Dillard
With high expectations heading into Spring Training last season, A.J. Pollock saw his season lost almost immediately due to a fractured growth plate in his right elbow.
A year later, Pollock has returned to the diamond for the D-backs.
In Wednesday afternoon’s contest against the Seattle Mariners at Salt River Fields, Pollock got the starting nod in centerfield and played all nine innings.
“It was awesome,” Pollock said. “Anytime you get to start up here, it’s incredible. Just try to keep it simple, try to make some plays.”
His presence was immediately felt as the speedy outfielder raced into shallow centerfield to dive and catch the third out of the first inning.
“I always felt like I had that speed game,” Pollock said. “It’s just a matter of keeping your legs healthy. Everyone here goes through times where your legs just feel slow. I felt really good today, felt good to show it off.”
Pollock stepped to the plate in the bottom of the third inning and again showed off his speed by beating out an infield single. After striking out in the fourth, Pollock rebounded by drawing a walk against Seattle’s Edward Paredes.
In his final plate appearance of the afternoon, Pollock followed a Wily Mo Pena single with a single of his own down the left field line. Pollock later scored from second base on a Paul Goldschmidt hit.
After a strong first Spring start, Pollock is eager to continue his early success.
“Obviously, I just want to come out here and make an impression,” Pollock said. “That would be the number one. I just keep it simple. Make some plays, whether it’s with the bat, on the bases, or in the field.”
While it was only one game for Pollock, it’s clear why the D-backs think highly of their former first round pick.
“He’s a baseball player,” D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. “Good energy. His game’s solid. He’s got good skills. Puts the bat on the ball, pretty good in the outfield. He’s really young, just a year out of college. Goes about his business the right way.”
Septimo solid in Spring debut
The D-backs have long known that Leyson Septimo owns a talented repertoire of pitches and a dominant fastball. It was all a matter of putting it all together on mound for the southpaw.
Against the Mariners, Septimo certainly looked like he’s headed in the right direction.
Septimo took the mound in the top of the seventh, and faced Michael Saunders to lead off the inning. He then quickly retired Saunders on a fly out to right field.
One batter later, Brendan Ryan smacked a ground ball back to Septimo who fielded his position well by hauling in the comebacker and throwing on to Juan Miranda at first base for the out.
Septimo then got Johermyn Chavez to ground out to third base to cap off the 1-2-3 inning.
Septimo has struggled with command since converting to pitching in 2008, last year in particular, so having him command his pitches is certainly a positive sign for the D-backs.