Pollock shines in first Opening Day assignment

Pollock shines in first Opening Day assignment

PHOENIX -- Hours before first pitch on Monday, D-backs outfielder A.J. Pollock sat at his locker trying to soak in every moment of the day.

Normally, batting seventh and starting in center field wouldn't be anything new to the 25-year-old, but this was different. It marked the first time in his young career he made an Opening Day roster.

And by the end of the night, Pollock had turned in a game he'll remember for a long time to come. Collecting three hits, including driving in the go-ahead runs in the fourth, the outfielder helped the D-backs defeat the Cardinals, 6-2.

"It's all about hitting mistakes," Pollock said. "Today we capitalized on it, some days you don't. I think we did a good job of being patient and waiting for a pitch to hit and we were able to do some damage."

The three hits tied for the most by a D-backs rookie on Opening Day.

"That's really cool," he said. "I'm sure my mom will be all over it."

Pollock appeared in 31 games last season for Arizona and said the knowledge he gained aided him in preparing himself for the big stage Monday.

"It helps a lot," he said. "Mostly if you can settle yourself down you realize it's the same game you've played."

As for the experience as a whole, Pollock described Monday as the culmination of his career to date.

"This is the stage I've always wanted to be on, wherever I've been, it was to get to here," he said. "I feel very fortunate to be here. There's a lot of firsts I have to get out of the way."

After originally being slated to begin his season with Triple-A Reno, Pollock earned the 25-man spot when Adam Eaton and Cody Ross went down with injuries.

"It was real hard, you don't want to see it, but everyone knows it's part of the game," he said. "It stinks but this could be my chance to show what I can do."

Tyler Emerick is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.