Notes: Pollock impresses; Gonzalez shows promise

February 26th, 2020

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- It’s been an unusual 13 months for Dodgers outfielder .

He signed with Los Angeles just over a year ago to be the team’s everyday center fielder. With the acquisition of earlier this month, he’s now expected to platoon in left field with .

For seven seasons, the home crowd at Salt River Fields cheered him as a member of the D-backs during Spring Training. On Tuesday, he was booed by the hometown faithful before each of his at-bats in the 7-3 loss to his former team.

But things are looking up for Pollock. He silenced the naysayers with a two-run home run in the fourth and finished 1-for-3. He’s staying optimistic about the future.

“When I signed here, I knew this team had a lot of talent and for me, I just want to be a part of it,” Pollock said. “Whether it’s left field or center field, it doesn’t matter. I just want to be able to impact the game.”

Pollock slashed .266/.327/.468 with 15 doubles and 15 home runs in 2019, but was limited to 86 games because of an elbow infection. He also struck out 11 times in 13 at-bats against the Nationals during the 2019 National League Division Series.

“It was a whirlwind of a year last year,” Pollock said. “There were some things that blindsided me. I know injuries happen, but that was a weird one for me. It was just one of those things, but I’m still here in a great spot on a great team. I’m going to enjoy it.”

Last month, Pollock drew the ire of D-backs fans after he chimed in when Pederson told the crowd that gathered at Dodger Stadium that he didn’t know how many people go to Chase Field when the Dodgers are not in town. Pollock responded with “not many.”

“I heard a couple of boos and a couple of cheers, but that’s what I expect now that I moved over to L.A.,” Pollock said. “Arizona was great for me. Good people and good support. It’s all good. They got a good team over there. We have a good team over here. It’s going to be a fun year.”

Gonzalez shows potential
Left-handed pitcher was charged with one run on two hits in one inning in Tuesday’s start against the D-backs. He walked one batter and struck out one in the 17-pitch outing.

“His ability to pitch in different roles is valued,” manager Dave Roberts said. “This guy has a big arm. I want to see the command tighten up. It’s a good slider and a good change. He’s a guy I’d be surprised if we don’t see him [in the big leagues] sometime this year. I’d be disappointed.”

Gonzalez, who has started 76 of his 112 career Minor League games, is transitioning from the bullpen back to the starting rotation, Roberts said. It’s uncertain at which level in the Minor Leagues he will start the 2020 season. Gonzalez went 5-2 with a 2.31 ERA in 38 games across Class A, Double-A and Triple-A last season.

Worth noting
• Pederson, who has been sidelined by what the club is describing as a “side issue,” stood in during 's bullpen session and bunted a few balls. He did not swing a bat.

“With Joc, we are not really worried about getting him ready for the start of the season,” Roberts said. “What we are mindful of is not having a setback. The calendar is our friend, so we are not really worried about getting him at-bats and getting him ready.”

Robertson stopped short of describing Pederson’s situation as an oblique injury.

“I have not heard that word,” Roberts said. “That’s not the word you want to hear, and I have not heard it. I’ve heard ‘side’ or ‘abdomen.’”

is scheduled to make his Cactus League debut in Saturday’s split-squad. The club is still deciding if he will pitch against the D-backs at Salt River Fields or the Rockies at Camelback Ranch.

• The Dodgers have not determined when and will make their Cactus League debuts. Both have been throwing live batting practice.

Up next
, the club's No. 5 prospect according to MLB Pipline, is scheduled to start Wednesday against the Angels at Camelback Ranch. Gray was the team's Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2019.

“There’s a lot to like about Josiah,” Roberts said. “I’m excited to see him. He’s a guy that cares and has really good fastball command. …The changeup looks real. It’s just getting him to use that slider the right way. But man, if there’s a guy you want to bet on, he’s right there at the top of the list.”