A.J. Ellis completes rehab assignment, will return to LA Tuesday

Dodgers

The Dodgers catcher had left knee surgery on April 8.

EL PASO, Texas -- Dodgers catcher went 1-for-3 with a home run on Monday night with Triple-A Albuquerque to complete his minor league rehabilitation assignment, and will return to Los Angeles on Tuesday.

Ellis could be activated from the disabled list as early as Tuesday, but will first be examined by the Dodgers medical staff.

"As of right now, he's coming back here tomorrow to have Stan [Conte, director of medical services] look at him," manager Don Mattingly said before Monday's game against the Marlins. "We'll see where we go from there."

Ellis caught six innings on Monday against the El Paso Chihuahuas, and even threw out old friend Alex Castellanos trying to steal second base in the third inning. Ellis' home run with two outs in the fifth inning was the first hit of the game for Albuquerque off Keyvius Sampson, and gave the Isotopes a 2-1 lead.

Tuesday marks five weeks from the date Ellis had arthroscopic surgery to repair a torn mensicus in his left knee. The injury, which plagued Ellis since spring training, didn't hurt him as much when in a crouch, but did while running. He was able to hit during batting practice inside of a week after the surgery and caught Clayton Kershaw's simulated game on April 20.

But running was the final step for Ellis to return, and the Dodgers were cautious in his rehab, hoping for a long-term solution to the problem rather than force a quick return. Ellis also had surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee in October 2012.

"We're still ahead of schedule of what was the original prognosis of four to six weeks, we're using that time to see if we can put the fire completely out. It's a long season," Ellis said on April 27. "You can play with something that nags you all year long or you can take the opportunity to see if this is something you can get rid of completely and be pain free the rest of the season."

Ellis also caught nine innings for the Isotopes on Sunday, and was 1-for-2 with a walk at the plate, and even tried to test his knee with a stolen base attempt. He was thrown out. Ellis also rehabbed over the weekend in extended spring training at the Dodgers complex at Camelback Ranch.

The Dodgers will need to make a corresponding move to add Ellis back to the roster, which almost certainly means one of Miguel Olivo or Drew Butera will have to be designated for assignment. Mattingly said over the weekend it is highly unlikely the Dodgers would carry three catchers once Ellis returns.

Ellis is 4-for-24 (.167) with four walks in seven games this season for the Dodgers.

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