Dodgers' A.J. Ellis avoids Cracker Barrel, loses 15 pounds

PHOENIX -- There’s a long-running joke among writers about how many players claim to be in the best shape of their lives when reporting to

spring training


In the case of catcher

A.J. Ellis

, it might really be true.

Ellis reported to the Dodgers camp Saturday noticeably leaner than he was a year ago. Ellis said he dropped 15 pounds over the winter.

“Trying to take stress off my lower body,” Ellis said. “I want to catch 120, 125 games this year. I want to be physically ready to do that.”

Ellis started 109 games last season.

He credited his weight loss on a new diet.

“I can talk to you about it,” Ellis jokingly said to a writer known for frequently visiting Cracker Barrel.

Ellis continued, “One thing that’s not on the diet: Cracker Barrel breakfast. That is not on the A.J. Ellis off-season itinerary.”