A.J. Ellis of the Los Angeles Dodgers hits an RBI single in the fifth inning against the San Diego Padres at Dodger Stadium on April 15, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.
Friday marked the return of Dodger catcher A.J. Ellis, who missed 14 games with a strained oblique. In order to make room for him on the roster the Dodgers designated backup catcher, Ramon Hernandez, for assignment.
It is not clear when Ellis' oblique started bothering him, but in the seven games before his DL stint he went 2-19 with 2 walks and nine strikeouts, which severely brings down his season line.
Before that seven game stretch he was hitting .287/.387/.410 with 20 walks and 24 strikeouts.
While Ellis was gone the Dodgers went 6-8, but lost four of their last five games. In his return on Friday, Ellis went 0-3 with three strikeouts. The Pirates shut out the Dodgers on Friday, 3-0.
Backup catcher, Tim Federowicz, 25, replaced Ellis for most of the time he was out, going 9-40 with two home runs and eight RBIs, but striking out 16 times.
He had a big highlight on Tuesday when he came up after the brawl and the Dodgers down by one run. The bases were loaded and he hit a double off the wall scoring three RBIs.
He earned plenty of new fans after performing in such a clutch situation that night.
The young Federowicz was sharing time behind the plate with veteran catcher, Ramon Hernandez, while Ellis was injured. Hernandez, 37, started five games, hitting 7-21 with two home runs, three RBIs and two strikeouts.
The Dodgers would have had three catchers on their roster with A.J. Ellis back, so they had to send one down to make room for him. Hernandez was the victim as he was designated for assignment. This could mark the end of his time as a Dodger, unless he clears waivers and elects to play in the minors.
Hernandez might not a big-league caliber catcher anymore, but he can still provide depth to a roster that has had an insane amount of injuries.
An interesting point to look at is that the Dodgers have A.J. Ellis under team control until 2017, and Tim Federowicz until 2019. That means that A.J. Ellis will not be a free agent until his age 36 season, and Federowicz will be 32.
So the Dodgers have their backstop situation locked up for serval years. If Federowicz proves to be an everyday player he can take over as Ellis ages.
The Dodgers really needed to get Ellis back, his high on-base percentage is a great tool and he is a great defensive catcher having thrown out half of would-be basestealers in 2013.
With Hanley Ramirez and A.J. Ellis back into the starting lineup, this team is slowly getting back to full health. Not to look too optimistic, but it is hard to see this team failing to make a run for the NL West title when Matt Kemp and Carl Crawford are also back in the lineup.