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Sarah's Take: Pollock's injury hurts D-backs' chances

MLB.com

On Saturday night, the Arizona Diamondbacks suffered a devastating blow when A.J. Pollock sustained a broken right hand after being struck by a pitch from Cincinnati Reds ace Johnny Cueto. The center fielder will miss at least a month.

From the beginning, the D-backs have had an abysmal season. Three weeks ago, the club hired soon-to-be Hall of Fame manager Tony La Russa to oversee the organization.

On Saturday night, the Arizona Diamondbacks suffered a devastating blow when A.J. Pollock sustained a broken right hand after being struck by a pitch from Cincinnati Reds ace Johnny Cueto. The center fielder will miss at least a month.

From the beginning, the D-backs have had an abysmal season. Three weeks ago, the club hired soon-to-be Hall of Fame manager Tony La Russa to oversee the organization.

When the D-backs took two out of three from the Los Angeles Dodgers, everyone hoped it would give the team confidence to improve its play. That hasn't been the case. Trailing the first-place Giants by 15 games in the National League West standings -- the widest margin in all of baseball -- the D-backs have won only 23 out of 59 games.

Pollock has become a complete player, according to manager Kirk Gibson. Pollock is a wonderful defensive center fielder whose bat has come alive. He owned the ninth-highest batting average, seventh-highest slugging percentage and eighth-highest slugging plus on-base percentage in the NL.

Meanwhile, Mark Trumbo, the biggest offseason acquisition for the D-backs, still is out with a stress fracture in his left foot. Trumbo's power was supposed to strengthen the offense, but he has been on the disabled list for the past month. While he's been on the DL, Cody Ross has gotten the bulk of the playing time in left field.

Just before the 2013 season, Ross signed a three-year contract with the D-backs and was billed as their savior. With his hard-nosed attitude, Ross was supposed to help change the culture of a laid-back team to a team that would never say die. Since he had been a member of the 2010 World Series champion Giants, the D-backs believed that Ross could provide a winning attitude.

As a member of the D-backs, Ross has been plagued with injuries. He missed the start of the 2013 season due to a calf strain. When he returned to the lineup, Ross performed the way that the D-backs expected until Aug. 11, when he dislocated his right hip.

The hip injury lingered this April, delaying Ross' start to the season. He played in 34 games, and his batting average is a mere .184. Ross' offensive production must improve, especially while Pollock deals with the broken hand.

The D-backs need a strong offense to compensate for a poor pitching staff. They have the highest ERA in the Major Leagues at 4.47. Injuries have dismantled both the starting rotation and the bullpen.

Overcoming a 15-game deficit in the NL West will be difficult for the D-backs with their many injuries. Pollock's broken hand might be the one that sealed the fate of the team for 2014.

Sarah D. Morris can be reached at sarahmorris27@gmail.com.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Arizona Diamondbacks, A.J. Pollock, Cody Ross