MINNEAPOLIS — White Sox outfielder AJ Pollock won a Gold Glove trophy in 2015 when he played for the Diamondbacks and was nominated for one in 2021 as a Dodger without the luxury of having a strong arm.
At 34, however, Pollock feels like he’s retrieving some arm strength that was probably lost after numerous problems withhis right elbow.
“I’m doing what I can, man,” Pollock said. “It’s getting there.”
A year after being drafted in the first round in 2009 by the Diamondbacks, Pollock fractured his right elbow diving for a ball. He fractured it again in 2016 sliding into home, and in 2019 had surgery to remove metal hardware that was inserted in the growth plate in 2016. There were infections in the plate area as well.
“The elbow wasn’t right for years,” Pollock said.
“But it’s weird, sometimes I think I have a squirt gun arm but I feel like I’m getting it back.”
A night after making a running catch in right field and banging into the side wall in Cleveland, Pollock nailed the Twins’ Gio Urshela with a throw from left field on the fly, denying the tying run and completing a double play. Never mind that Twins manager Rocco Baldelli should have challenged the close call. Manager Tony La Russa opened his postgame interview lauding Pollock for making the defensive play of the game for the second night in a row.
“I’ve always been accurate to second and third but never felt like I had the strength to home,” Pollock said.
“Now it feels like I having something behind it for the first time in years.”
Eloy unlikely for Twins series
Eloy Jimenez hit in the cage but isn’t running yet, and isn’t expected to play until after the All-Star break. The only scenario La Russa sees him playing is pinch hitting “with two outs and the bases loaded.”
Jimenez walked off the field after making a running catch in Cleveland Wednesday. It’s the same soreness that paused his rehab assignment at Charlotte but he said he felt better the day after this time.
“I’m going to heal faster because I feel way better in my second day,” he said. “I’m already swinging.”
Zavala’s ABs ‘as good as anybody’s’
While Yasmani Grandal rehabs after going on the injured list with back spasms — he was 8-for-17 with a home run and nine walks in six injury rehab games between Double-A Birmingham and Triple-A Charlotte — Seby Zavala has shined catching in tandem with Reese McGuire, batting .303/.349/.474 with an .803 OPS and handling the defensive side and pitch calling without issue as well.
“He’s receiving well and throwing well, they’re not running too much on him,” La Russa said. “But offensively he’s had as good at-bats as anybody.”
Shortly after announcing that Jake Burger (hand) would begin a minor league rehab assignment at Charlotte Friday, the Sox said the rehab was on hold due to illness.
Jim Kaat day
Saturday’ game has an unusual 2 p.m. start, following the Twins’ honoring of 2022 Hall of Fame electee Jim Kaat, whose uniform No. 36 will be retired. A two-time 20-game winner for the Sox, Kaat won 283 games in his career, including 45 with the Sox from 1973-75.