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Dodgers accelerate the activation of AJ Pollock

Shane Greene was designated for assignment

Los Angeles Dodgers v San Francisco Giants Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

With outfield depth depleted by injuries, the Dodgers activated AJ Pollock off the injured list a little sooner than expected, before Wednesday’s game against the Rockies at Coors Field.

Healthy is a relative term, and with Pollock having missed 15 games with a Grade 2 right hamstring strain, the Dodgers are easing him back in. He’s not starting on Wednesday night, but will be in left field on Thursday afternoon, against left-hander Kyle Freeland.

Luke Raley starts in right field for a second straight night, this time against German Márquez.

“I thought it was too much, too soon,” manager Dave Roberts said of Pollock starting twice in the spacious Coors Field outfield. “With the altitude, with the running potentially, I just felt that, in talking to the training staff and AJ, getting him here for a pinch-hit at-bat, that makes sense. There’s not much cost.”

Pollock was originally planned to join the Dodgers in Arizona for the weekend series against the Diamondbacks, but that got accelerated to Thursday after Cody Bellinger was placed on the injured list on Tuesday with a fractured left rib. Pollock was summoned even sooner because Chris Taylor, who was unavailable on Tuesday night with neck soreness, is likely unavailable again Wednesday.

Taylor missed five games last week with the injury, returned to pinch-hit on Friday, then started Saturday and Sunday. He’s not expected to be placed on the injured list.

Dodgers-Rockies lineups

Pos Dodgers Pos Rockies
Pos Dodgers Pos Rockies
CF Betts LF Tapia (L)
SS Seager (L) 2B Rodgers
2B Turner RF Blackmon (L)
1B Muncy (L) SS Story
3B Turner 1B Cron
C Smith 3B McMahon (L)
LF Lux (L) C Díaz
RF Raley (L) CF Hilliard (L)
P Buehler P Márquez

“The game he started in Cincinnati — the last game — he sort of regressed. We stayed away from him yesterday, and will probably stay away from him today. We’ll see where he’s at over the couple of days,” Roberts said. “I think we’ll be able to manage it. Having AJ back gives us a little more coverage. With CT we can afford to be a little more picky.”

Wednesday night is the 10th start for Gavin Lux in left field in 11 games since getting recalled from Triple-A. Roberts said Lux will start Thursday afternoon in centerfield, where he played once with Oklahoma City, on September 5. His entire lifetime experience in the outfield has come in the last three weeks.

“Even in Little League and travel ball, I always played short or second, so this is literally the first time I’ve played outfield,” Lux said Tuesday. “Right now I’m just, wherever I can help the team win, whether that’s second base, third base, short, center, it doesn’t matter to me.”

To make room for Pollock on the active roster, the Dodgers designated pitcher Shane Greene for assignment, which also opens up a spot on the 40-man roster, which is now at 39 players.

The Dodgers getting Clayton Kershaw and a healthy Tony Gonsolin back in the rotation has helped ease the burden on a bullpen that was taxed for over two months. The last two weeks have been limited almost entirely to pitchers who at least have a shot of being on playoff rosters.

Greene was seldom used, having last pitched on September 8. The Dodgers signed the veteran right-hander on August 20, and he appeared in nine games in relief, allowing three runs in 6⅔ innings for a 4.05 ERA, walking five, hitting three, and striking out seven.

Greene also finished off the 16-inning win in San Diego on August 25, one of nine different Dodgers pitchers to earn a save this season.