In one game on July 19, the Los Angeles Dodgers went from having two healthy catchers to needing one to start the next day.
Starting catcher Yasmani Grandal exited the game after taking a foul tip off the face mask, and backup A.J. Ellis finished out the game. The next day it was Ellis, not Grandal, who went on the 15-day disabled list. The official diagnosis was knee inflammation and Ellis said he started to feel it after a diving attempt at a foul ball.
On Tuesday, the Dodgers officially reinstated Ellis from the disabled list and catcher Austin Barnes was optioned to Triple-A.
Barnes played in four games, starting three, going 3-for-10 with a walk and a hit by pitch. The 25-year-old hit his first career extra-base hit and will now head back to OKC, hopefully until the September call-ups.
As for Ellis, the 34-year-old was on a roll before the injury, hitting .333 in 14 games since June 1. The former everyday catcher had to adjust to playing once or twice a week and struggled to start the year. Ellis raised his average from .143 to .222 in those 14 games. The Dodgers will hope that the time off doesn’t affect his play at the plate, although Ellis’ defense and handling of the pitchers is more important than his bat.
With a day off on Monday and a right-hander on the mound on Tuesday, Ellis will likely have to wait for a start behind the plate.