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."