A.J. Ellis #17 of the Los Angeles Dodgers breaks his bat as he hits a single during the second inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres on Opening Night at Petco Park on March 30, 2014 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
The Dodgers have gotten zero offensive punch out of their catchers, but instead of just dealing with it manager Don Mattingly finally made a move.
Coming into Thursday, A.J. Ellis, Tim Federowicz, and Drew Butera have hit a combined .156, with zero home runs, one RBI, and a combined .550 slugging percentage.
In defense of Ellis, he’s been on the disabled list for almost a month to have his left knee surgically repaired. As far as the other two are concerned, Mattingly defended their futility at the plate earlier in the season.
“They’ve been brought here to call games, handle our pitching staff, and make sure they’re studying,” he said, adding, “We’ve got other guys who are here to drive in runs.”
Federowicz and Butera hit a combined 2 for 14 with runners in scoring position. Mattingly acknowledged it was a concern, but refrained from throwing his catchers under the bus.
“I think it would be a lot less talked about if we were putting some runs up on the board, so when you’re not putting runs up on the board you talk about everything that’s not working,” Mattingly said.
Still, someone had to go.
Federowicz drew the short stick and was optioned to Triple-A Albuquerque Wednesday for catcher Miguel Olivo who was tearing up the Pacific Coast League. Olivo, an 11-year Major League veteran, had a .390 batting average with the Isotopes, four homers, 19 RBIs, and a 1.099 OPS. The Dodgers are hoping he can fill the void behind the plate until Ellis returns.
Mattingly says running is the last hurdle for Ellis to get over before a minor league rehab assignment can become an option, and even then he’s still a few weeks away from returning to the Dodgers.
“He’s caught bullpens, he hits live, he’s pretty much done everything except being able to run...where he’s totally back to freedom with that (knee),” Mattingly said.