Since taking over the full-time duties behind the plate for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2012, A.J. Ellis has been a reliable presence. The catcher was placed on the disabled list last season for the first time since 2003, though it was a move that was made more out of the necessity to temporarily add a pitcher to the roster than an indication that Ellis was expected to miss time.
Considering his ability to avoid the DL, it came as a surprise when the Dodgers announced Ellis was set to undergo arthroscopic surgery on the meniscus in his left knee and would miss four to six weeks. The 33-year-old catcher aggravated an existing injury when he tried to score from second in the Dodgers’ 7-2 loss to the San Francisco Giants.
Ellis previously underwent surgery on the same knee and according to J.P. Hoornstra of the Los Angeles Daily News, Ellis attributed the injury to his catching stance, which be believes he needs to change:
When I catch, I tend to put more of my weight on my left side,” Ellis said. “I’m carrying the heavier frame than most other catchers. All that pressure on my left side, it’s going to put a lot of stress in that area. It’s maybe something I need to reconsider — the way I catch, my stance — maybe even it out more 50-50. The way I like to catch, the way I’ve caught my whole life, is to have that weight loaded over there.”
Given the way he distributes his body weight while he catches, Ellis told Hoornstra he wasn’t surprised by the need for another surgery and he will make a concerted effort to be more balanced upon his return. With Ellis on the mend from surgery, the catching responsibilities appear to have fallen on Tim Federowicz.
The Dodgers recalled Federowicz from Triple-A on Tuesday and the young catcher has struggled through two games, going 1-for-7 at the plate and committing a throwing error on a stolen base attempt. Drew Butera is also with the team and the Dodgers may rely on a platoon between the two until Ellis is able to return.
Dodgers news: A.J. Ellis out due to knee surgery, Kershaw improving