Pollock begins rehab assignment, joins Souza with Reno

PHOENIX — First it was Shelby Miller and Robbie Ray who returned to the Diamondbacks rotation this week, and now the lineup is getting ever closer to full strength as well.

Outfielders A.J. Pollock and Steven Souza Jr. joined Triple-A Reno on rehab assignments Friday night.

Souza played in two games with High-A Visalia earlier this week — he was 3 for 9 with a double and a walk as the designated hitter — while Pollock hasn’t played in a game at any level since he suffered a fracture to his left thumb on May 4.

“He ramped up pretty quickly and there’s a lot to be said for that,” D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said before his team started a 10-game homestand Friday. “He’s anxious to get back here.”

Pollock showed a bit of his excitement for getting back on the field in an Instagram post, using a clip from the Mighty Ducks movie series.

A post shared by AJ Pollock (@ajpollock_) on

Pollock was hitting .293 with 11 home runs, 33 RBI and a .969 OPS when he was injured diving for a fly ball in center field.

“We feel like A.J. is trending toward a normal rehab, a normal recovery,” Lovullo said. “What that date is is kind of unknown. But he’s healed quickly and has healed enough.

“But we have to be careful with these athletes and their bodies. The bodies are temperamental and they’ve missed time. If you run them out there a little too soon there’s a chance something else could go wrong. I think it go quicker than expected; I hope it will. But we’re going to stick to the plan until we know more about how he feels day by day.”

Lovullo shared that a return to the big-league team could happen before the All-Star break. After this three-game series against the Giants, the D-backs host the Cardinals for three and then the Padres come to town for four before Arizona heads to Colorado and Atlanta for three games each.

“We’re optimistic that he will be (back) before the All-Star break, I can tell you that,” Lovullo said. “Does it happen, we’re not sure.”

As for Souza, whose pectoral injury limited him to 14 games thus far in his first season with the D-backs, he will continue to serve as DH for at least the next two games. He could play the field and test his ability to throw in a game either Sunday or Monday.

“We have soft schedule … but they change,” Lovullo said regarding all of the team’s injured players.