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Dodgers

Dodgers’ A.J. Pollock to have a metal screw removed from right elbow

Los Angeles Dodgers’ A.J. Pollock reacts after a strike during the first inning of an MLB baseball g
Dodgers center fielder A.J. Pollock reacts after being thrown a strike against the San Francisco Giants at Dodger Stadium on April 1.
(Kelvin Kuo / Associated Press)

A.J. Pollock will undergo surgery Thursday to remove a metal screw that was inserted into the growth plate in his right elbow in 2016, a development that is better news for the oft-injured Dodgers center fielder than it might seem.

Pollock, who signed a four-year, $55-million deal last winter, developed a bacterial infection in his bursa sac after bumping his elbow last week in Chicago and was put on the 10-day injured list Tuesday.

There was a fear Pollock would need a third procedure to fuse a fracture in the growth plate and reinforce the bone with new hardware. Pollock missed five months after elbow surgeries in 2010 and 2016 with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

But doctors determined during an exploratory procedure Tuesday that the growth plate had healed enough for the screw to be removed. While manager Dave Roberts acknowledged Pollock would be sidelined for at least a few weeks, he expects Pollock to return this season.

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“Absolutely,” Roberts said, when asked if he expects Pollock to be out for less than five months. “From what I understand, the bone structure is in a good place, and that’s encouraging. There’s no need to replace the hardware. They can just remove it, and that’s a good sign.”

Roberts said Pollock’s injury is one that is usually associated with hockey players. Pollock may have initially injured the elbow as a child without knowing it. He fractured the elbow when he dove for a ball in a spring-training game in 2010 and reinjured the elbow in 2016.

This is Pollock’s eighth big league season. He has had 500 plate appearances once. In addition to the elbow injuries, Pollock has also missed time because of a broken thumb and a groin strain.

“It’s a blow, but I think for us, it’s more we feel for A.J. because this guy prepares so well,” Roberts said. “He was so excited to sign with the Dodgers, a place he targeted, and for something freak to happen like this, he’s disappointed.”

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Memorable moments

Matt Beaty’s first major league hit, a single to center field in the eighth inning of Tuesday’s 10-3 win that came on his first big league swing, had several Dodgers reminiscing about their first hits.

Justin Turner’s came with Baltimore on Sept. 11, 2009, in Yankee Stadium, a ninth-inning pinch-hit single off Mike Dunn in a 10-4 Orioles victory.

“It was 1:17 in the morning in New York and there were like 500 fans in the stands after a couple of two-hour rain delays,” Turner said. “But that’s something you never forget.”

Roberts’ came with Cleveland on Aug. 7, 1999, in Tropicana Field, a second-inning double off Bobby Witt, part of a three-hit game in a 15-10 Indians victory that included another piece of history.

“It was the same game Wade Boggs got his 3,000th hit,” Roberts recalled. “He homered of Chris Haney for his 3,000th hit and kissed home plate when he got there.”

Short hops

First baseman David Freese was scratched from Wednesday’s lineup because of a minor injury he suffered when he fouled a ball off his ankle in Tuesday’s game. Max Muncy started at first base. … Roberts confirmed that outfielder Andrew Toles, who never reported to spring training because of personal issues and was put on the restricted list, has reported to the team’s Arizona training facility. “He’s there trying to get back into shape,” Roberts said. “How long that takes remains to be seen, but I’m happy to have him back and working.” … Reliever Caleb Ferguson, on the injured list because of a minor right oblique strain, threw a bullpen session and is expected to face hitters in simulated-game conditions Saturday.

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mike.digiovanna@latimes.com

@MikeDiGiovanna


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