The Los Angeles Dodgers have been without the services of A.J. Ellis since the first week of April after the catcher had surgery to repair the meniscus in his left knee. It was the second such surgery Ellis has undergone on the meniscus, though his recovery the second time around has come at a much quicker pace.
Ellis’ only setback came when he first attempted to run prior to a Dodger home game, however he later cleared that hurdle while the team was on its nine-game road trip. Ellis has since been rehabbing at the team’s Spring Training facility and as expected, the 33-year-old is now set to begin his rehab assignment, reports the Orange County Register’s Bill Plunkett:
— Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) May 10, 2014
While the Dodgers will certainly welcome Ellis back with open arms given his leadership and value to the pitching staff, it may create for a difficult roster decision. In the catcher’s absence, the Dodgers first relied on a tandem consisting of Drew Butera and Tim Federowicz.
Both catchers struggled at the plate and Federowicz was eventually optioned to Triple-A in favor of Miguel Olivo. The Dodgers are unlikely to carry three catchers on the 25-man roster, which means Butera or Olivo are likely candidates to be sent to the minors. However, Butera and Olivo are both out of options and would need to clear waivers before they could join the Dodgers’ farm system.
The same situation is what may have led to Butera making the Opening Day roster ahead of Federowicz, however he may not be as fortunate this time around. Since joining the Dodgers, Olivo has provided an offensive punch from the previously inept catcher’s position. Should Ellis make it through his rehab games without issue, he may be in line to join the Dodgers for their weekend series against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
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