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A.J. Ellis goes out in style

The backup catcher has a career-high three hits in the Dodgers' 5-2 loss to Cincinnati on Sunday after finding out he was being optioned back to triple-A Albuquerque to make room for Rod Barajas.

August 22, 2010|By Kevin Baxter

Backup catcher A.J. Ellis knew before Sunday's game that he wouldn't be going with the Dodgers to Milwaukee on Monday. Earlier in the day the Dodgers announced they had acquired another catcher, Rod Barajas, on waivers from the New York Mets. And with veteran Brad Ausmus on the roster as well, Ellis was clearly the odd man out.

But at least he went out in style, getting a career-high three hits in the Dodgers' 5-2 loss to the Cincinnati Reds.

"That's a heck of a day. He puts pressure on the manager," Dodgers Manager Joe Torre said. "He's going to get sent to the minor leagues and he goes three for three. But I'm happy. He's been working hard. And he'll be back."

Ellis, who started the day batting .174 in 26 games, has been putting in some extra work with hitting coaches Don Mattingly and Jeff Pentland to rebuild the foundation of his swing.

"We had some really good sessions the last couple of days," Ellis said. "It's almost like — I don't want to say we're reworking it. But it's almost like we're starting from scratch."

Barajas, who will turn 35 next month, started 67 games for the Mets this season, batting .225 with 12 homers and 34 runs batted in. He is expected to join the team before the game Tuesday, and Torre said he's likely to do the bulk of the catching the rest of the season.

To make room for him on the roster, Ellis was optioned back to triple-A Albuquerque. But Torre said he'll rejoin the Dodgers when major league rosters expand Sept. 1.

Another pointless game

Clayton Kershaw's 11 strikeouts Sunday moved him to second place in the National League in that category, six behind Philadelphia's Roy Halladay. He also picked Brandon Phillips off first in the second inning, his league-leading eighth pickoff of the season.

But once again he was victimized by poor support. The left-hander has made eight starts since the All-Star game, and the Dodgers were shut out in one of them and scored two or fewer runs in three others.

Not surprisingly, Kershaw (11-8) has lost three of those eight games. And while he's made a team-best 18 quality starts on the season, the Dodgers have lost seven of those decisions as well.

"It comes down to not being able to put enough points on the board," Torre said.

The Reds' winning run Sunday came on Joey Votto's home run leading off the sixth, the first homer the Dodgers have allowed in seven games.

"A solo home run, I've always said, isn't going to kill you," Kershaw said.

It did Sunday.

Weaver activated

Reliever Jeff Weaver was scheduled to make a two-game minor league rehab assignment this week. Instead, he celebrated his 34th birthday Sunday by coming off the disabled list.

Weaver, 5-1 with a 5.35 earned-run average in 36 outings, missed 18 games with tendinitis in his left knee. Earlier this season he spent 14 games on the DL with a low back strain.

Travis Schlichting took Weaver's place on the 15-day DL on Sunday after complaining of shoulder soreness following Saturday's appearance against the Reds in which he gave up a pair of runs in two-thirds of an inning.

For the season Schlichting, 25, is 1-0 with a 3.57 ERA in 14 games. He is scheduled to have his shoulder examined Monday.

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