Pollock closer to return, avoiding DL stint

Pollock closer to return, avoiding DL stint

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- It appears that D-backs outfielder A.J. Pollock is getting close to returning to action, which makes it less likely that he will need to start the season on the disabled list.

Pollock has been bothered this spring by a sore right elbow, which has prevented him from playing in a big league game since March 8.

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This past weekend, he began hitting in regular batting practice and has played in some Minor League games in which he has simply stood in the batter's box and watched pitches or bunted.

"We don't have a firm date on that, but I think it's sooner than later," D-backs manager Chip Hale said of Pollock returning to Cactus League games. "He needs to get enough games to get his game right."

If Pollock is back in games soon, Hale said he would have enough time to be ready for the April 4 opener against the Rockies.

"He's healthy; he's feeling good," Hale said. "He's swinging the bat well if you watch him in BP, he's running and throwing. Once we get him in games, we can really increase the at-bats by getting him in some Minor League games and let him hit every inning."

Because the Minor League games are somewhat unstructured, it's possible to hit the same batter at the start of each inning.

Minor League activity

Reliever Evan Marshall continued his bid to win the final spot in the bullpen with two impressive innings in a Minor League game on Tuesday afternoon. Marshall allowed one hit and struck out five in two innings.

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.