GLENDALE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - AJ Pollock didn’t consider the Diamondbacks-Dodgers rivalry when he signed a five-year contract with the Dodgers during the off-season – but Diamondbacks fans weren’t shy about reminding him.
“Honestly, it’s weird because when I was going through free agency, I didn’t think too much about the rivalry,” Pollock said Wednesday as the Dodgers opened full-squad workouts at Camelback Ranch in Glendale. “I was just excited to sign with a good team and then all of a sudden I’m walking through downtown Phoenix and [D-backs] fans are letting me have it – but it was all in good fun.”
Pollock, a former All-Star and Gold Glove winner during his six-season major league career with the Diamondbacks waited out free agency until late January and while returning to Arizona would have been more than acceptable to the 31-year-old centerfielder, signing with the Dodgers made the most dollars – and sense. After all, a marriage between franchise and player is a two-way street.
“It is what it is,” said Pollock. “There are no hard feelings – at least on my end. The difference was the Dodgers were a team that really, really wanted me. I’m just excited to be here now.”
Pollock was born and bred into professional baseball as a D-back. A first-round pick out of Notre Dame in 2009, Pollock patrolled centerfield in Arizona for the better part of six major league seasons. He earned All-Star and Gold Glove honors in 2015 and helped the D-backs to the National League playoffs in 2017.
“I’m really grateful for my time [in Arizona],” said Pollock. “Some of my best friends are still there.”
He now joins a Dodgers team coming off back-to-back World Series appearances.
“A lot of teams come into spring training hoping they’ll make the World Series or hoping they’ll make the playoffs,” said Pollock. “This [Dodgers] team, everything they do is built towards, ‘We’re going to be in the postseason and we’re going to play in the World Series’ and as a free agent, to come to a team like this, that’s all you can ask for.”
Pollock and the Dodgers open Cactus League play Saturday against the Chicago White Sox at Camelback Ranch.