Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis, right, speaks with reliever Hong-Chih Kuo… (Jayne Kamin-Oncea / U.S.…)
Reporting from St. Louis — The Dodgers recalled catcher A.J. Ellis from triple-A Albuquerque and designated catcher Dioner Navarro for assignment Tuesday, removing him from the team's 40-man roster.
Navarro, who signed a $1-million, one-year contract with the Dodgers this season, had appeared in 64 games. Although he had five game-winning runs batted in, the switch-hitter was batting .193 in 202 plate appearances, and he had struggled defensively at times in recent weeks.
But Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly said there also were "philosophical differences."
"Without going into any specifics," Mattingly said, "I don't think he's the right guy for this team right now." Mattingly said Navarro "didn't fit … my beliefs on the way you go about it."
Dodgers General Manager Ned Colletti said the change was "part of a look to the future, too, with A.J," and that it also might "give Dioner a chance maybe to catch on with a team that's in the [pennant] race by Sept. 1, if there's such an interest."
The Dodgers have 10 days to trade Navarro, release him or offer him a minor league assignment.
"It's time we give A.J. another opportunity to play more and not just be a September call-up," Colletti said. "How he does the next five or six weeks will give us more of an indication of where we're at with that position."
Ellis was hitting .304 at Albuquerque this season. And he was batting .247 in his 166 prior major league plate appearances.
Rod Barajas is the Dodgers' other catcher and started Tuesday night. With the Dodgers playing a day game Wednesday, Ellis was expected to start, Mattingly said.
Catching prospect Tim Federowicz, acquired by the Dodgers last month in the Trayvon Robinson deal, also is expected to play in the big leagues when teams expand rosters Sept. 1.
Effort for TV rights sale
The Dodgers on Tuesday took a step toward trying to sell their cable television rights, the key to Frank McCourt's strategy to emerge from bankruptcy as the team's owner.
The sale could involve "a traditional licensing deal or … the creation of a regional sports network," according to documents filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del.
The Dodgers' current deal with Fox Sports extends through 2013 and restricts them from negotiating with other potential cable outlets until Nov. 30, 2012. The Dodgers are expected to ask the court to terminate the contract, as is their right under bankruptcy law, with opposition expected from Fox, Major League Baseball and McCourt's ex-wife, Jamie, who claims half-ownership of the team.
A hearing is set for Sept. 26.
Times staff writer Bill Shaikin contributed to this report.