Associated Press

A.J. Pollock fractures his elbow on slide into home, will require surgery

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The Arizona Diamondbacks sustained a huge blow last night when All-Star center fielder A.J. Pollock fractured his right elbow with a head-first slide into home plate during an exhibition game against the Kansas City Royals. Manager Chip Hale said Pollock would require surgery.

Pollock was to be a big part of a Diamondbacks team many were expecting to make great strides in 2016. Last year he was fantastic, hitting .315/.367/.498 with 20 homers, 39 doubles and 39 stolen bases all while playing Gold Glove defense in center field. This year, with Pollock and Paul Goldschmidt leading the offensive attack and Zack Greinke and Shelby Miller shoring up the pitching staff, many assumed the Dbacks would be playoff contenders.

Now that’s all uncertain, as one of the best players in the game will be on the shelf for an extended period of time. How much time? It’s unclear now. The Dbacks said they will know more about the extent of the fracture today but, for now, there is no timetable for his return. It’s worth noting that Pollock fractured the same elbow in spring training in 2010 and missed the entire season.

After the game, manager Chip Hale said “We feel awful for A.J. We’re a family. It’s like one of your family members taken away from you right now.” He also talked about the circumstances of the play, saying “If he goes feet-first, he’d be OK, but the problem is the way the play played out. If he goes feet-first, he might have gotten his leg broke by the catcher. It’s just unfortunate.”

Hale doesn’t have the luxury of dwelling on it, however, as Opening Day is Monday evening at home against the Rockies. For now 23-year-old Socrates Brito will likely replace Pollock. Brito has 18 games and 34 major league plate appearances under his belt. Apart from that late season call up, he has never played above Double-A. Chris Ownings could see some time covering for Pollock too. If Pollock is to miss the season and Brito proves insufficient, the DBacks could look to make a trade, of course.

Sad news all around. Here’s the play if you want to see it. It’s not graphic or gross or anything. Just really unfortunate.

[mlbvideo id=”570494583″ width=”600″ height=”336″ /]

 

Joe Kelly’s suspension reduced to 5 games on appeal

Joe Kelly suspended eight
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LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Joe Kelly had his suspension for throwing pitches near the heads of Houston hitters reduced to five games on appeal.

Kelly was originally penalized eight games by Major League Baseball on July 29, a day after throwing a 96 mph fastball near the head of Houston’s Alex Bregman and two curveballs that brushed back Carlos Correa.

The Dodgers on Wednesday confirmed the reduced penalty.

Kelly went on the 10-day injured list retroactive to last Sunday with right shoulder inflammation. He will serve his suspension when he returns.

After striking out Corea, Kelly curled his lip into a pouting expression and exchanged words with the shortstop.

Benches cleared after Kelly’s actions during the sixth inning of Los Angeles’ 5-2 win at Houston in the teams’ first meeting since it was revealed the Astros stole signs en route to a 2017 World Series title over the Dodgers.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts served his one-game suspension the same day the penalty was handed down. Astros manager Dusty Baker was fined an undisclosed amount.

Kelly denied that he purposely threw at the Astros. He has previously been suspended in his career for throwing at a batter.

The penalties were imposed by former pitcher Chris Young, MLB’s senior vice president of baseball operations, who issued his first ruling since taking over the job from Joe Torre.