One of the several Los Angeles Dodgers to fall victim to injury this season was A.J. Ellis. The 33-year-old catcher underwent surgery on the meniscus in his left knee and was subsequently placed on the 15-day disabled list. It was the second operation on Ellis’ left knee and perhaps sensing a trend, the catcher plans on changing the way he distributes his weight when in his stance behind the plate.
In Ellis’ absence, the Dodgers called up Tim Federowicz, who has handled the majority of the games behind the plate, with Drew Butera drawing spot starts. At the time of the surgery, Ellis was anticipated to miss four to six weeks and while that still may stand, he is already participating in baseball activities, according to Ken Gurnick of Dodgers.com:
I can do everything, baseball-wise, except run, Ellis said Friday, and that’s not a big part of my game.
Ellis also discussed the rate of his recovery and how it compares to his first surgery, via Gurnick:
t’s a little more accelerated this time, because it was in the offseason [after the 2012 season] the last time, Ellis said. The biggest thing is, I felt so much better when I woke up the morning after surgery, and it’s all been good since.
Ellis’ contributions to the Dodgers extends beyond his hitting or fielding abilities. The durable catcher is also seen as a leader and someone whom Dodgers pitching coach Rick Honeycutt describe as an extension of himself. Ellis is eligible to come off the 15-day DL on April 21, which would be 13 days after the arthroscopic surgery. Once Ellis is healthy and able to resume catching, it will likely spell the end of Federowicz’s time with the club at the big league level. Federowicz served as the backup catcher in 2013, but with Butera also on the roster this season, Federowicz was the only catcher with options remaining and thus was sent to Triple-A.
Dodgers News: A.J. Ellis Out, Knee Surgery, Clayton Kershaw Improving