For the eighth time in 14 games, A.J. Pollock wasn’t in the Dodgers’ lineup Friday night against the Atlanta Braves. The groin injury he suffered Aug. 1, one he thought would dissipate within two or three days, is healing but remains an obstacle. It was apparent in the two games the center fielder started against the Miami Marlins this week. The reality prompted Dodgers manager Dave Roberts to plan to start Pollock just once against the Braves this weekend.
“It’s getting better and better,” Pollock said. “I made a lot of progress the last couple of days and got to gain confidence with it, too. It’s moving in the right direction and hopefully, shortly, I won’t even be thinking about it anymore.”
Pollock was thinking about it in Miami, and it was obvious. On Tuesday, he exited the game after three doubles in three at-bats because Roberts said he was still favoring the groin. On Thursday, he hesitated to sprint for two flyballs that landed in front of him. And yet, he’s continued producing at the plate; he’s 10 for 23 with four doubles and a home run in August.
The Dodgers have decided not to place Pollock on the injured list, instead opting to handle the 31-year-old with care. Roberts acknowledged that if the Dodgers’ division lead wasn’t so vast — it stood at 19 1/2 games entering Friday — Pollock would probably be on the injured list. The wide margin affords them the option.
“He’s available in any capacity, but we just have that luxury to manage him and that’s what we’re trying to do,” Roberts said. “We’re going to do whatever it takes to get him out of it so mentally, physically, he’s not worried about it. And hopefully we don’t compromise him in the batter’s box, where he’s getting the repetitions.”
Sunday’s starter in limbo
Dustin May was listed as the Dodgers’ starting pitcher Sunday, but Roberts said the 21-year-old right-hander will not make the start. Instead, the plan is for May to pitch in relief for an inning or two for the first time in his career as the Dodgers experiment with their top pitching prospect. May’s first three career major league appearances have been starts. He’s allowed six runs — five earned — in 17 innings. May is an option to start in the postseason if Rich Hill can’t return from injury as a starter, but could find himself in the bullpen.
As for who will start Sunday, Roberts said Tony Gonsolin could get called up from triple A for the assignment. The Dodgers could also opt for a bullpen game. Gonsolin last pitched for triple-A Oklahoma City on Monday. The right-hander had nine strikeouts over five scoreless innings. He’s appeared in three games for the Dodgers this season, two as a starter and one out of the bullpen. He’s also in consideration for a spot on the Dodgers’ postseason pitching staff in either capacity.
Chris Taylor, Enrique Hernandez returns
Utility players Chris Taylor and Enrique Hernandez are tentatively scheduled to return from the injured list “sometime in the middle of next week,” Roberts said.
Taylor was placed on the injured list with a fractured left forearm July 15. He began a rehab assignment with Class-A Rancho Cucamonga on Thursday, playing shortstop for four innings and going two for three with a three-run home run.
Hernandez began playing for the Dodgers’ Arizona Summer League team Friday after taking live batting practice at Marlins Park this week. He was put on the injured list July 29 with a left-hand sprain.
The Dodgers swapped right-handed relievers with Oklahoma City on Friday, optioning JT Chargois and recalling Josh Sborz.