A.J. Ellis has proven durable in first full MLB season behind the plate

Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

A.J. Ellis qualified for the batting title this season, something that doesn't happen all that often for catchers.

As the Dodgers head into their regular season finale against the Giants, the focus turns to a man who isn't even playing today.

A.J. Ellis has 505 plate appearances, which means he qualified for the batting title this season. That may not seem like that big of a deal, but it carries more weight when considering that Ellis is one of just eight major league catchers to do so this season, and he is fourth in the majors in both games and innings caught.

Ellis is only the ninth Los Angeles Dodger catcher to qualify for the batting title, something that has been done by the team just 20 times in their 54 years in the city.

But he isn't starting on Wednesday, the regular season finale. On the 182nd day (well, 227th day since pitchers and catchers reported to spring training), Ellis rests, with Tim Federowicz catching Clayton Kershaw. It's the first start of the season for Federowicz, who caught one inning and had one plate appearance since his Sept. 1 promotion to Los Angeles.

"The great thing about Clayton out there is that he'll let you know what he wants to do out there," Ellis said, not worried about putting Kershaw in the hands of Federowicz. "He's not going to give up the keys that easily."

Even though Kershaw has battled through a hip impingment, Ellis is not surprised that he was adamant about pitching on Wednesday, even though the game means nothing for the Dodgers' now dead playoff hopes.

"It's not surprising. It's in his makeup. It's who he is. He said, 'I get paid to pitch. It's my day to pitch, so I'm going to go out there.' I think there is some personal satisfaction too that it's against the Giants," Ellis said. "I'm really excited to see how today goes."

With the exception of Tim Federowicz, the Dodgers will send the regular lineup out there against San Francisco, though manager Don Mattingly said he might remove a few players as the game goes on. Asked if Kershaw had any limitations in his final start.

"I spoke with (Dodgers CEO) Stan (Kasten), and he said no more than 150 pitches," Mattingly joked.

Starting Lineups

Giants (94-67)

Pagan CF (S)
Scutaro 2B
Sandoval 3B (S)
Posey C
Pence RF
Nady LF
Belt 1B (L)
Arias SS
Vogelsong P

Dodgers (85-76)

Ellis 2B
Ethier RF (L)
Kemp CF
Gonzalez 1B (L)
Ramirez SS
Victorino LF (S)
Cruz 3B
Federowicz C
Kershaw P (L)

Game Time: 4:15 p.m.

TV: Prime Ticket

MLB Gameday

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