Battling multiple injuries, A.J. Ellis has only managed to play in 15 of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ 68 games this season. Ellis played in the Dodgers’ first seven games of the season before undergoing surgery to repair the meniscus in his left knee.
Ellis returned to action May 14 only to suffer a sprained ankle 11 days later during the celebration of Josh Beckett’s no-hitter. The Dodgers placed the catcher on the disabled list for the second time this season and according to Bill Shaikin of the LA Times, Ellis should be activated Friday:
#Dodgers expected to activate C A.J. Ellis tomorrow.
— Bill Shaikin (@BillShaikin) June 12, 2014
During Ellis’ first stint on the DL, he completed a rehab assignment with the Albuquerque Isotopes and the Dodgers handed the catching duties to Drew Butera and Tim Federowicz, with Federowicz receiving the bulk of the starts. Both catchers struggled with the bat, which eventually led to Miguel Olivo being called up and Federowicz was optioned to the minors.
Following Olivo’s role in an altercation with Alex Guerrero, he was released from the team thus resulting in Federowicz receiving another opportunity with the Dodgers.
Both Butera and Federowicz have fared better during Ellis’ second trip to the DL. The improved play from the catchers has helped the bottom of the Dodgers lineup transition from being automatic outs to posing some threats.
In his limited at-bats this season, Ellis is hitting .170 with one RBI. While the 33-year-old has yet to swing the bat well, his biggest contribution to the team may be his suggestion to Beckett that he throw his breaking ball more often.
Beckett obliged and he’s emerged as a dependable fifth starter for the Dodgers. Should Ellis return Friday, he would be in a familiar place — behind the plate for another Clayton Kershaw starts.
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