The Dodgers’ off-season check list in the injury department seems unusually lengthy this winter, but apparently they can rest at ease in one area.
Catcher A.J. Ellis said he feels fully recovered from left knee surgery and is already partaking in all baseball drills.
“I’m doing all my regular baseball activities,” Ellis said. “It looks like a normal January for me.”
Ellis, who emerged as a team leader in just his first season as a full-time starter, had his procedure Oct. 5 to clean up some tears in his medial and lateral meniscus.
He lives in Franklin, Wis., and actually rehabbed his knee in the off-season with the Milwaukee Brewers medical staff. The Dodgers arranged the medical cooperation with the Brewers, and Ellis would make the 20-minute drive from his home to their off-season clinic to work with physical therapist Mark Lydecker.
“He was just terrific,” Ellis said. “This was the first time I ever had major surgery, particularly being on my lower half. Everything has gone great. It’s a big relief.”
Ellis, 31, is already performing catching drills and blocking balls in the dirt. This is the first spring he will go to camp as the established starting catcher. Ellis said that can make his preparation slightly different, as now he looks at the season more long-term.
“My goal is to be able to stay strong from the beginning to the end of the season,” he said. “I felt I did wear a little bit down late in the season, particularly mentally.”
Ellis appeared in 133 games last season, leading the team in on-base percentage (.373), and adding an unexpected 13 home runs.