Pollock unlikely to return in regular season

D-backs outfielder undergoing complicated rehab on elbow

Pollock unlikely to return in regular season

PHOENIX -- While he feels good about A.J. Pollock's chances of eventually returning to the diamond at some point, hand specialist Dr. Don Sheridan was reluctant to put a timeframe on it, but it does not seem like Pollock will be able to play during the rest of the regular season.

But if the D-backs are still playing baseball in October…

"If everything goes extremely well it's going to be at least three months before A.J. is going to be released to start baseball activities," Sheridan said. "It could be the entire season, but I'm very hopeful and look forward to the day that we see A.J. run out of the dugout and take his position and have a good playoffs this year."

Sheridan performed the three-hour surgery on Pollock's right elbow fracture Tuesday.

Pollock fractured the elbow four days prior to that when he slid into home plate. That the fracture occurred was not a complete surprise.

Pollock scores, fractures elbow

The elbow had given Pollock trouble all spring and x-rays taken had shown that a plate, inserted after he fractured the elbow during Spring Training 2010, had broken and the bone itself had never fully healed.

Pollock did not play in a big league game from March 8 until April 1, when he suffered the fracture. Instead he rehabbed the elbow and played in Minor League games.

"We talked about if something were to happen this is what we would do," Pollock said of his discussions with Sheridan during Spring Training. "But the plan was just to play it out and you're probably not going to have to worry about it and then first game back … I was confident I was going to be able to play with it and it was going to be a non-issue. "

There was a reason for them to avoid having surgery right away.

"Given the complex nature of the surgery we all agreed that if you can play with it the way it is, let's do it," Sheridan said. "I don't know how anybody can be at the level of activity that he was through Spring Training with a broken screw in his elbow."

During the surgery, Sheridan removed the broken screw, drilled several holes in Pollock's pelvis area to get some plugs of cancellous bone and then packed that bone into the elbow to try to stimulate the bone to heal.

Pollock has been undergoing bone stimulation and taking nutritional supplements. The new plate that was inserted is the latest model and should last longer and work better than the previous one.

"Although this is a very complex problem, I am very optimistic about his return," Sheridan said. "We've pulled out all the stops. I can't think of anything that we're not doing. The only bit of pessimism in the whole thing is we're trying to get a bone to heal that has not been healed together for some time. That's why we're taking this so seriously and doing everything we can."

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