Pollock settling in at leadoff spot
PHOENIX -- A day after hitting his first career walk-off home run, D-backs center fielder A.J. Pollock was back in the leadoff spot Tuesday as he was Monday when his homer won the game.
The third-year center fielder is one of the hottest hitters in the lineup and is settling into his role as the top hitter. In the month of May, Pollock is hitting .343 with eight RBIs and three home runs -- the most noteworthy being Monday's walk-off -- and was named the National League Co-Player of the Week on May 19.
"We're trying to move on because we're trying to get to the next game," Pollock said Tuesday. "It's a part of baseball … I'm excited to play tonight."
In his career, Pollock has hit just .257 (69-for-268) out of the leadoff spot, but he has that average up to .264 (14-for-53) this year. He is also hitting for more power out of the top spot, racking up an .856 OPS as a leadoff hitter compared to his .787 mark in the eighth spot, where he has his second-most at-bats.
"Fortunately in the last inning, he hit one out of the park," manager Kirk Gibson said. "That's one of the things that's good about him. He has the ability to hit the ball out of the ballpark. He's shown more power.
"Also he gets on base; he can steal a base for you."
The D-backs haven't attempted to swipe many bags, but of the 28 successful attempts, Pollock had six entering Tuesday -- tied for the team lead with shortstop Chris Owings. Pollock's only been caught stealing once.
Additionally, his on-base percentage (.337) was third-highest on the team among starters, behind only middle-of-the-order hitters Paul Goldschmidt and Miguel Montero, making Pollock a suitable candidate for the regular leadoff hitter.
"You know he's going to settle up there somewhere at some point in his career," Gibson said. "I think we're getting to that point."