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A.J. Ellis nearing return from DL

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Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis ran the bases in pregame drills on Sunday, likely the final step before he is activated from the disabled list on Tuesday.

"They were working on his base stealing a little bit, right before we turn him loose," manager Don Mattingly joked before Sunday's series finale against the Angels.

Ellis was placed on the disabled list on July 20 with right knee inflammation, believed to be aggravated while trying to catch a foul ball on July 19 against the Nationals.

Mattingly said had Ellis been an outfielder at at some other position of depth, he likely wouldn't have needed a disabled list stint, only missing a handful of games. But that's not feasible at the catcher position, so Ellis was sidelined and Austin Barnes called up from Triple-A Oklahoma City.

Ellis will not play in any minor league rehab games before his activation on Tuesday, when the Dodgers open a three-game series against the Phillies in Philadelphia.

"We feel like he's ready. He's been ready, just like we thought he would be ready," Mattingly said. "There were some discussions about him getting out and getting some at-bats. Mac seemed to think he was okay. He's been able to hit really since the beginning of this, after the first four or five days."

The injury came with especially unfortunate timing for Ellis, who was red-hot when placed on the disabled list. He rebounded from a tough start to the year and is now hitting .222/.327/.333, and has thrown out 13 of 22 attempted stealers, a league-best 59.1-percent success rate.

Ellis has a six-game hitting streak and has reached base via hit or walk in his last 11 games, hitting .375/.487/.625 with two home runs, two doubles and seven walks during that span.