Mark Ellis gets help from Dee Gordon after a collision at second base with… (Harry How / Getty Images )
For most followers of the Dodgers, Mark Ellis was this great discovery. When the Dodgers signed him the off-season, it seemed a modest undertaking.
He was a guy with a reputation as a solid defensive player, whose offensive numbers had been in decline. And he was 34.
But Ellis had been a daily education. He was much more than solid at second, he made every play. In his 37 games, he had yet to make an error. Offensively, he was hitting a solid .273 and proving a steady No. 2 hitter; he was second on the team in runs.
Plus, he was a wonderful addition to the clubhouse mix, an upbeat, bright veteran.
Which is why his loss for about six weeks is the most threatening of all the Dodgers’ injuries.
Saturday afternoon he had something close to emergency surgery on his left leg just below the knee to drain blood and fluid that was causing dangerous pressure to the leg muscle.
The nearly six-inch incision along the leg’s fascia created a flap that will remain open to continue drainage until closed Tuesday. A fasciotomy is no minor surgery. Then begins a fairly long rehab.
Dodgers trainer Sue Falsone said the surgery went well and he is expected to make a full recovery. The leg was injured Friday when Ellis was hit by St. Louis’ Tyler Greene breaking up a double play.
Manager Don Mattingly has several players he can juggle at second for the next six weeks -- Adam Kennedy, Justin Sellers, Elian Herrera,Ivan De Jesus Jr., and, when he returns next week,Jerry Hairston Jr.
None, though, will be able to bring everything Ellis had been displaying at second.
“To me, he’s a great player,” Mattingly said. “I had no clue.... He’s one of those players: The more you see him the better he is. It’s a tough guy to replace.”
Matt Kemp is expected back in nine days, Hairston could be back on Tuesday or Wednesday, Juan Rivera is apparently sneaking ahead of schedule, Juan Uribe remains unknown.
But it’s six weeks for Ellis, and that’s probably assuming everything goes well. It’s not like this is some typical injury and operation for a professional athlete. That’s a lot of potential scar tissue to work through along the lower leg muscle.
However long he’s out, he’s one player -- unexpected as it may be -- who figures to be truly missed.
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