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Dodgers FYI: Second baseman Mark Ellis rejoins Dodgers' lineup

Mark Ellis returns to active duty after three weeks on the disabled list because of a quadriceps strain. Catcher Tim Federowicz is sent to triple A.

May 20, 2013|By Dylan Hernandez, Los Angeles Times
  • Dodgers' Mark Ellis throws to first base during a game against the Atlanta Braves Sunday.
Dodgers' Mark Ellis throws to first base during a game against the… (Todd Kirkland / Associated…)

ATLANTA — Second baseman Mark Ellis was activated from the 15-day disabled list Sunday, having been cleared by the medical staff to return to the lineup after playing in two minor league games.

"I'm done rehabbing," Ellis said.

Ellis played all nine innings Sunday in the Dodgers' 5-2 loss to the Atlanta Braves.

Ellis, 35, had been sidelined for three weeks because of a strained quadriceps muscle.

"It's been tough, without a doubt," Ellis said. "You always feel you can help a little bit. I know one guy's not going to make a difference, but you feel you can help."

Even though he made a fielding error, he figures to improve the Dodgers' defensive range.

He could also help the team's stagnant lineup. Ellis, who was batting .342 at the time of his injury, contributed to the Dodgers' first run Sunday, when his first-inning groundout moved Carl Crawford to third base, from where he scored on a single by Adrian Gonzalez.

Ellis said he thought his timing at the plate improved in the two days he spent with double-A Chattanooga (Tenn.). He played seven innings in the second game and made four plate appearances.

Roster move

To clear a spot on the active roster for Ellis, the Dodgers could have parted ways with third baseman Luis Cruz or backup catcher Ramon Hernandez, who are batting .096 and .045, respectively. The team instead optioned catcher Tim Federowicz to triple-A Albuquerque.

Because Cruz and Hernandez are out of options, the Dodgers could have lost them on waivers or to free agency had they attempted to send them to the minors.

The Dodgers are thin at catcher and Hernandez provides depth. But if his recent role is any indication, he doesn't provide the quality of depth Manager Don Mattingly wants. Since Federowicz was called up to the majors May 8, Hernandez hasn't appeared in a single game in any capacity. In that span, Federowicz started twice and pinch-hit five times.

Mattingly offered what sounded like a halfhearted endorsement of the move.

"That was the move that the organization thought was the best," he said.

Magill shines

Matt Magill had what Mattingly described as the best of his four career starts, limiting the Atlanta Braves to a run and four hits over five innings. Rain delayed the start of the game by 1 hour 42 minutes, but Magill didn't appear bothered.

"Every time I get out there, I feel more comfortable," he said.

Magill struck out eight.

"It gives you a chance to miss a bat," Mattingly said. "He has good stuff."

Ted Lilly is expected to be activated within the next three days. Mattingly said he wasn't sure if Magill would remain in the rotation.

Short hops

Scott Van Slyke, who started in right field in place of Andre Ethier, exited the game shortly after fouling two pitches off his left leg during a seventh-inning at-bat. X-rays were negative and Van Slyke was listed as day to day. . . . Cruz is bothered by a sore elbow. . . . There was a second rain delay in the bottom of the sixth inning that lasted 33 minutes.

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