A few days after his April 11 start against the Marlins in which he couldn’t get through the fifth inning, Phillies starter A.J. Burnett was diagnosed with an inguinal hernia. He said he would pitch through the rest of the season with it rather than undergo surgery.
So far, so good. Burnett picked up his first win of the season with eight shutout innings against the Diamondbacks on Sunday afternoon, giving him three consecutive quality outings since his diagnosis:
- April 17 vs. Braves: 7 IP, 0 ER, 3 H, 2 BB, 5 K (no-decision win)
- April 22 at Dodgers: 6 2/3 IP, 2 ER, 6 H, 1 BB, 5 K (no-decision win)
- April 27 at Diamondbacks: 8 IP, 0 ER, 5 H, 0 BB, 8 K (win)
- Total: 21 2/3 IP, 2 ER (0.83 ERA), 14 H, 3 BB, 18 K
Thus begins the trend of pitchers intentionally giving themselves inguinal hernias in order to pitch better.
Free agent outfielder A.J. Pollock has landed on the Dodgers’ radar, and The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal says the two appear to be in discussions regarding a deal for 2019. Terms of any prospective deal have not been released, but interest is presumed to be fairly high as he checks two boxes on their wish list: that of a right-handed hitter and an experienced centerfielder.
Pollock, 31, rounded out a seven-year career with the Diamondbacks in 2018. While he was sidelined for nearly seven weeks after fracturing his left thumb on a dive gone wrong, he finished the season batting a hearty .257/.316/.484 with a career-best 21 home runs, 13 steals (in 15 chances), and 2.5 fWAR across 460 plate appearances. He received a $17.9 million qualifying offer from the club at the end of the year and elected to enter free agency in hopes of a better deal, which some have estimated at five years and $80 million.
So far, it’s not clear whether teams are willing to meet those terms. Pollock profiles as both a solid hitter and defender, but he hasn’t played a season in full health since 2015, which may be a deal-breaker for those in search of long-term talent. Even with that caveat, however, the Dodgers are far from the only club willing to enter negotiations with the outfielder this winter. The Braves have been linked to Pollock since December, and the Mets and Reds have expressed varying levels of interest as well.