PHOENIX — As expected, the Arizona Diamondbacks have activated center fielder A.J. Pollock and he was in the lineup for Friday night’s game against the Cincinnati Reds.
Pollock, an All-Star and Gold Glove winner last season, broke his right elbow in a head-first slide at home in a preseason game two days before the start of the regular season.
Pollock was second in the batting order against the Reds behind Jean Segura and ahead of Paul Goldschmidt. The announcement of his name over the public address system at Chase Field during starting lineup introductions drew cheers.
The Diamondbacks sorely missed Pollock’s offense and defense in a season that went south in a hurry.
He was jokingly asked to reintroduce himself to media during a pregame news conference.
“It’s awesome to play the game I love again, and really just not even thinking about my elbow, which is incredible,” Pollock said. “In the beginning of the year, everyone was saying I was out for the whole season and was not coming back. For me, I didn’t think for a second that I wasn’t going to play this year.”
Pollock was reinstated from the 60-day disabled list and outfielder David Peralta (right wrist inflammation) took his place.
The plan for Pollock is to play him two days in a row followed by a day of rest. He said he might hesitate to slide head-first at the outset of his return.
“I’m a player and I feel like if I’m ready to play, I want to be out there,” Pollock said. “I prepared to play every single day and I think that’s how your mindset has to be … Just going to go out there and play my role.”
Outfielder Mitch Haniger was optioned to Triple-A Reno after Thursday night’s game to make room for Pollock’s return.