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AJ Pollock’s wild ride to playing baseball in 2020

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“It’s been emotional, it’s been amazing, it’s been scary, it’s been frustrating.”

Los Angeles Dodgers Summer Workouts Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

A.J. Pollock thought the decision of playing in 2020 would be a lot harder than it was. When he brought it up with his wife, Kate, this was her response to him.

“Could you really look at the guys in the World Series from our couch?”

With the support of his wife, Pollock decided we would play for the Dodgers this season. However, his decision wasn’t as easy as simply getting a blessing from his wife. For the 32-year-old, this was by-far the most difficult offseason of his entire career.

Back on March 19, shortly after baseball was shut down due to the coronavirus, Pollock and his wife welcomed their baby, Maddi, to the world. What should have been an unforgettable and beautiful day was the beginning of a difficult journey for the couple. Their daughter was born three months premature, weighing only one pound and six ounces.

Luckily, Maddi is trending in the right direction and is doing much better. She’s over eight pounds now, and just needs to be able to get off the feeding tube before she’s able to come home.

That was just the first obstacle for Pollock. In addition to the struggles with his newborn daughter, he also got coronavirus.

“It was a wild ride,” Pollock said when speaking with reporters on Friday. “I was in Arizona, my air conditioning broke, I didn’t sleep at all that night. I had a little bit of a headache and body aches, I just thought I didn’t sleep well. I got a little more of a headache throughout the day. I got tested, didn’t know if I had it. I had a few more days of symptoms. It was frightening. I don’t know how.

“They had to quarantine Maddi. I think I got it from the hospital. For 120 days we hadn’t talked to anyone. Frightening, but in a weird way it might be a blessing. Now I’ve had it, might have some kind of defense now so when they come home [they’ll be okay]. It’s safer for sure.”

That was last month, and Pollock is feeling healthy and is ready to play baseball. Although he had to deal with everything going on with his daughter as well as having the virus, Pollock still feels that he is in a good spot with the season starting up in less that a week.

“I feel good,” he said. “In Arizona I had a good setup. I was able to throw and hit. Honestly, I’m not too worried about it.”

Luckily, he didn’t fall too ill from the virus. He said that there were only about two days where he didn’t feel great. He lost his smell and taste, but it overall wasn’t anything too concerning.

“By day 10 I was working out in full, it just took time to get cleared by the MLB,” he said.

What should have been the happiest time of his life for him and his wife, quickly turned into the most difficult. Pollock had to go 14 days without seeing his daughter due to quarantine, and his wife had to go 10 days.

“It was tough, especially on her,” Pollock said. “When you tell a mom you can’t see her baby, it’s not great. It’s a really strange feeling. You have a lot of joy seeing your daughter, but she’s one pound. There’s no relief she’s born because of all the challenges ahead. It’s been a wild ride. It’s been emotional, it’s been amazing, it’s been scary, it’s been frustrating. She’s in a really good place now. When she’s ready to come home she’ll come home.”

With his daughter hopefully being able to come home soon, Maddi and Kate will be able to finally come out to Los Angeles and be with A.J. Until that happens, all focus is on his team and the 2020 season.

“I’m excited to play with good players,” he said when asked about sharing an outfield with two former MVP’s. “We’ll see how everything shakes out. This will be a team effort. We got a lot of depth. I haven’t talked with Doc too much about stuff. I’m just going to focus on feeling good at the plate and in the outfield. There will be a lot of opportunities, there are going to be at-bats for sure to go around. I’m pretty confident with whoever we stick in the lineup.”

The season Pollock has in 2020 is yet to be determined. Whether or not the Dodgers win the World Series at the end of the year, Pollock will still be a winner, because he’ll get to go home to his MVP of a wife and his MVP of a daughter.