Pollock called up, makes first big league start

Pollock called up, makes first big league start

Pollock called up, makes first big league start
PHOENIX -- When Triple-A Reno manager Brett Butler gave outfielder A.J. Pollock the news that he was headed to the big leagues, Pollock at first did not believe him.

"I thought it was a joke," Pollock said. "He kind of half told me. I don't know if he was trying to build up the drama or something. When I realized it was true, I started getting some adrenaline going, and I was pretty pumped."

Pollock will take the place of Geoff Blum, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Wednesday with a strained left oblique muscle.

With outfielders Chris Young and Justin Upton out of the lineup with injuries, Pollock did not have to wait long to make his Major League debut, as manager Kirk Gibson had him in Wednesday's starting lineup, batting seventh and playing center field.

"It's pretty awesome," Pollock said of seeing his name in the lineup. "I was pretty pumped. I'd rather just get thrown into the mix as opposed to the buildup, so I think that's going to help me, and I'll just go out there and try to help the team win. They've got a good team here already, and as long as I'm playing my role and doing my part, then we'll be fine."

Though this is Pollock's first taste of the Majors, the team kept him around until the end of Spring Training so he could play in a pair of exhibition games at Chase Field.

Gibson said that the idea was to give him a taste of what it's like playing center in the ballpark should he be needed in a situation just like this one.

"Doing that stuff, kind of being around the field here, getting comfortable, absolutely helped 100 percent," Pollock said.

In 12 games for Reno, Pollock was hitting .340 with six doubles and an .839 OPS.

"He's a pretty complete player," Gibson said. "He's a good outfielder, he throws the ball well, he runs the bases well, he's smart, he swung the bat well in Triple-A. I'm glad we kept him here through the end so he got to play in this stadium. This is when that pays off. It's still going to be overwhelming for him, his first day in a true big league game. He's well prepared for today, and there's a lot on his shoulders. We think he's got good character."