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Pollock named NL Player of the Month

D-backs outfielder batted .291, hit nine homers over 27 games
MLB.com

PHOENIX -- Through a month, A.J. Pollock has looked like the player from his breakout season in 2015. Now, he has the recognition to prove it.

On Wednesday, Pollock was named the National League Player of the Month for March/April after batting .291 with nine home runs and 24 RBIs over his first 27 games of the season. He capped the first month with a three-homer performance against the Dodgers on April 30.

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PHOENIX -- Through a month, A.J. Pollock has looked like the player from his breakout season in 2015. Now, he has the recognition to prove it.

On Wednesday, Pollock was named the National League Player of the Month for March/April after batting .291 with nine home runs and 24 RBIs over his first 27 games of the season. He capped the first month with a three-homer performance against the Dodgers on April 30.

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"There's too many games in this sport to kind of dwell on it, but it's cool," Pollock said. "It's cool getting recognition. It's even better when we're winning games."

That seems to be most important to Pollock. The D-backs entered Wednesday at 21-8, the best record in the NL, and they haven't lost a series yet.

Video: Must C Classic: Pollock goes deep thrice vs. Dodgers

Pollock had some tough luck after 2015, when he slashed .315/.367/.498 with 20 homers and won an NL Gold Glove Award. In '16, Pollock played just 12 games as he missed the start of the season with a fractured elbow and didn't play until late August.

Pollock returned healthy in 2017, but he missed some time with a right groin injury.

Now, Pollock looks like his old self. In his last seven games entering Wednesday, Pollock slashed .321/.387/.929 with five homers and eight RBIs.

"We had a moment where I got a chance to congratulate him," manager Torey Lovullo said. "For me to see it from the outside, it's a lot of hard work, it's a lot of dedication."

"Put a lot of work into it, and there's a lot of times when you're not seeing well and you're putting in a lot of work," Pollock said. "So when you are feeling good and things are rolling, it's pretty sweet.

"It feels special."

Video: ARI@WSH: Pollock smacks a solo homer to right-center

The timing has been impeccable for the D-backs, who have won nine consecutive series to open the year.

"I think you'd rather start the season well than not start it well," Pollock said. "I've had fast starts, and I've had slow starts. It's a long season. I think if you just understand the ups and downs of the game, you don't get too high or too low over really hot streaks or really cold streaks."

Souza continues to near return
Lovullo said outfielder Steven Souza Jr. joked that he should be the extended spring training player of the month, if there were such an award. Souza (right pectoral strain) played four innings in the field and took two at-bats in extended spring training on Wednesday.

Two balls were hit to Souza in the outfield, and he also threw from 150 feet. Lovullo said Souza is "as close as you can get" to being ready to return, though the manager still hasn't marked a specific date.

"He is dying to get out there, which is a great sign," Lovullo said.

For Souza, hitting hasn't been the issue.

"I think that's been the most frustrating part about this whole process, is if we were in the American League, I could have [been a designated hitter] a long time ago," Souza said. "But it is what it is."

Souza has been monitoring his throwing and reaction plays, such as diving back to the base. Overall, he said he's in the necessary shape to play.

Lovullo said he's been toying with lineups for when Souza and third baseman Jake Lamb (left shoulder) return. Nothing is set yet, but the manager said he had Souza batting second in the order in at least one of his creations.

Mixed news on Delgado
There is good and bad news regarding D-backs right-hander Randall Delgado (left oblique strain).

The unfortunate news?

Delgado received a cortisone injection for shoulder stiffness.

"Not great news on Randall, but we feel like this is something that's going to push him in the right direction as quickly as possible to get back throwing," Lovullo said.

But there is redeeming news, too.

"As far as the oblique and some of the other things that were hampering him, they're non-issues," Lovullo said.

Starting rotation unknown
Lovullo didn't name a starter to take the mound in place of Robbie Ray, who exited his last start early with a right oblique strain. The D-backs will need a starter for Friday's series opener against the Astros.

Justin Toscano is a reporter for MLB.com.

Arizona Diamondbacks, A.J. Pollock