04/28/2013 3:39 PM ET
Pollock benefiting from consistent at-bats
By Tyler Emerick / MLB.com
PHOENIX -- When Spring Training began, A.J. Pollock's Opening Day roster chances were iffy at best. But with injuries taking their toll on the D-backs' outfield, Pollock has played in all but three games for the club so far this season, filling in nicely in his first opportunity as an everyday Major Leaguer.
In 78 at-bats going into Sunday's game, the 25-year-old is hitting .269 with three homers, 10 RBIs and a National League-leading nine doubles.
"When you look at putting a winning ball club together, A.J. Pollock is exactly the kind of guy you want," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "He has made the most of his opportunity, and he fits the type of ballplayer we like."
Pollock made multiple appearances in the big leagues last season, but he never received the consistent at-bats he is getting now, something the outfielder thinks has made a huge difference for him.
"You relax a little bit more. Last year I was up and down," he said. "So that helps a little. It's hard to explain how you get comfortable, but stuff happens and you gain confidence."
With Jason Kubel back on the active roster, Pollock's playing time figures to decrease some, but until Adam Eaton comes back from his elbow injury, which likely won't be until the end of May at the earliest, he'll still be a mainstay with the club.
"Everyone is supportive. We're all behind everyone," Pollock said. "Maybe I won't play every day, but I still have to be ready to play."
Gibson rests Prado, commends attitude amid struggles
PHOENIX -- Amid a lengthy slump at the plate, Martin Prado was out of the D-backs' lineup on Sunday for the first time this season. The 29-year-old, who started the club's first 28 games, is batting .136 since April 12 and has just one hit in his last 22 at-bats.
"He's pressing," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "Nobody is insulated from it in this game, nobody. ... I'm sure he's putting pressure on himself -- we all do -- but he'll be fine. We'll get him back to where he can be."
Throughout his struggles at the plate, Gibson has been impressed with how well Prado has handled adversity. The utility man has made just one error while moving all over the field, playing third base, second base, left field and one game at shortstop.
"He's probably struggling as much as he has ever struggled in his career. The guy is a perfectionist, and he works very hard, but if you were to look in our dugout last night, you wouldn't know he was 0-for-5," Gibson said.
"His steadiness is very calming to his teammates. He's not down there with his head in his hands. He's not thinking about his last at-bat. He's right back up there watching and talking. He's playing great defense, too. That's impressive. It takes a special character person to do that."
Gregorius injury forces D-backs to activate Kubel earlier
PHOENIX -- Just a day ago, the D-backs planned to send Jason Kubel to a rehab assignment at Triple-A Reno before activating him on Wednesday. But with Didi Gregorius still suffering from concussion symptoms, the club was forced to scrap that plan on Sunday.
Exactly 15 days after Kubel went on the disabled list with a strained left quad, the D-backs reinstated him Sunday and placed Gregorius, who was hit in the helmet with a 93-mph fastball on Saturday, on the seven-day DL with a mild concussion.
The D-backs could've waited to put Gregorius on the shelf, but if they wanted to backdate his DL stint, they had to make the move Sunday. This way, the rookie shortstop will be available to come off the DL two days sooner, as the transaction was made retroactive to Saturday.
Kubel, who was originally scheduled to take Sunday off after playing in an extended spring game in Scottsdale on Saturday, was in the lineup Sunday for the D-backs, batting third and playing left field.
Before getting hurt, the 30-year-old Kubel was hitting .333 with two doubles, two home runs and six RBIs.
"I'm feeling good. It's good to be back," he said. "We took a lot of rest, and I haven't felt my quad in over a week. I've been running around in games the last couple days, and it just feels good. I'm ready to go."
Even though Kubel is optimistic that the pain is behind him, the D-backs will keep a close eye on him moving forward and try to be careful with the outfielder if the injury flares up again.
"We just have to be alert if he feels anything at all," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "We don't want him to push it too much and re-injure it."
As for Gregorius, the 23-year-old continues to feel better every day, but the club doesn't want to rush his return, especially with a head injury.
"He could've had a serious injury," Gibson said. "It could've hit him in the face. A lot of bad things could've happened."
In order for Gregorius to be cleared to play again, the rookie needs to be symptom-free and pass a series of examinations that tests his brain function in an athletic atmosphere.
"There's a list of 20 questions, and you have to answer them all. He hasn't done that yet," Gibson said. "The next step after that is you go put him under light distress with exercise, then you test him again. Until he's done all that, he can't do anything."
Gregorius had hit safely in all seven games this season for the D-backs, going 11-for-27 with four doubles and two home runs.
Tyler Emerick is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.