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A.J. Ellis gets to watch Dodgers in person tonight

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Denis Poroy

LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis returned to Dodger Stadium one day after surgery to repair a meniscus tear in his left knee to watch his teammates play the Tigers in person.

Ellis, who was able to ditch the crutches and put weight on his left knee by Tuesday night, watched Tuesday's game from home. But as a DirecTV customer, Ellis does not have SportsNet LA (welcome to the party, pal) and was unable to watch the game on television.

"I watched it on a hijacked Time Warner app email address that I was able to acquire from someone who shall not be named," Ellis revealed.

The only other game Ellis watched on TV in his major league career came last June 11, when he was on a rehab assignment coming back from his strained oblique muscle. The Dodgers got into a brawl with the Diamondbacks on that night.

But after yelling at his iPad at times and startling his kids, Ellis is back to watch in person and help out his teammates whenever needed.

"Drew and Fed are bright guys who do a great job working behind the plate. They both call a great game and both study and do their homework," Ellis said. "I'm just going to be a resource, maybe an extra set of eyes, an extra set of hands on the computer."

Drew Butera caught Sunday after Ellis injured his left knee while running the bases in the seventh inning of Saturday's game. Tim Federowicz was recalled Tuesday, started last night and is back in the lineup again on Wednesday night.

Ellis said the meniscus in his left knee bothered him even during his offseason workouts, which was part of the reason for his decision to lose 15 pounds.

"The hope was that losing some weight would help, but that didn't really happen so now I'm glad I can get back to eating whatever I want," he joked.

He said his knee wouldn't hurt to squat, but would while running or plays like coming out of his crouch to back up first.

"It never hurt to squat, it only hurt running," Ellis explained. "It was foot contact, running, agility-type things, things I'm not good at anyway."

Ellis had a similar surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee in October 2012, just after the season ended. He said his setup behind the plate contributed to the wear and tear on his legs.

"When I catch I tend to put more of my weight on the left side," Ellis said. "Maybe it's something to reconsider the way I catch, even out my stance 50-50, but the way I like to catch, the way I've caught my whole life, is to have my weight loaded over there."

Ellis said it was only a matter of time before the meniscus tore.

"It hadn't been barking any louder, it was consistent. It wasn't getting better, but it wasn't really getting worse. There was some damage that was being done in there. There was obviously the start of some small tearing, and that one play pushed me over the edge," Ellis said. "It was a blessing in disguise for me. Hopefully I can get my legs under me, and get healthy. I don't feel like I really had my legs all spring.

"The beautiful thing about being a Dodger is you come into the season, you're not just preparing for the regular season. You're preparing for the playoffs too. So I know I have an extra month of the season on the back end that I'm preparing for."

Notes

  • Ellis joked about being on the disabled list along with Clayton Kershaw. "It was all a big ploy. We're going to setup Between Two Palm Trees: DL Edition," he said.
  • Yasiel Puig took batting practice with the team and could be available to pinch hit tonight. Puig has missed the last two games after jamming his thumb on Saturday.
  • Don Mattingly said Zack Greinke will start for the Dodgers on Saturday in Phoenix. Paul Maholm had his bullpen session skipped earlier Wednesday and will instead be available in relief if needed tonight. Maholm is a candidate to start Sunday, but that will most likely go to Dan Haren with Maholm slotting back into the rotation somewhere after Monday's off day.
  • Brian Wilson in lieu of a third rehab game with Class-A Rancho tonight instead threw a simulated inning on the mound at Dodger Stadium before Wednesday's game. Mattingly said Wilson is progressing, and could return relatively soon, within five or six days of his first day eligible to be activated from the disabled list (April 15).