Catcher A.J. Ellis returned to the clubhouse after the Dodgers’ 3-1 loss to Tampa Bay on Wednesday to find the bag from the first stolen base of his nine-year career at his locker and a beaming Clayton Kershaw, the pitcher responsible for procuring the historic base.
“I called Marvin Hudson, the second base umpire, over and asked if I could have the bag right then,” Ellis said of his second-inning swipe of second, his first stolen base in 537 games.
“He said, ‘No, you have to wait until between innings.’ Then to come here and see Clayton sitting at my locker, smiling and laughing at me, was nice. It’s fun to have memories with a bunch of guys you have a shared history with.”
Ellis was on first base and Joc Pederson was on third with two outs and a 2-and-2 count on Brandon McCarthy, the Dodgers pitcher. When Ellis took off, the logical play for catcher Luke Maile would have been to pump-fake to second or let Ellis have the bag and continue the at-bat against McCarthy.
“In all honesty, we didn’t think they’d even be covering second there,” Ellis said. “I thought we’d get a catcher’s indifference and get to second base.”
Manager Dave Roberts told Ellis in spring training that if he steals a base, he would buy Ellis dinner at the restaurant of the catcher’s choice.
“I owe him dinner,” Roberts said. “So he’s pleased.”
Plus, Ellis has a novelty item for his trophy case.
“It’s a fun little memento because I’m not really known for my speed,” Ellis said. “It’s nice proof that I did get one. But one’s enough.”
Yasiel Puig sat out his fourth straight game because of a right hamstring injury and has “kind of plateaued” in his recovery, Roberts said. But the Dodgers continued to delay a decision to put the outfielder on the disabled list.
Reliever Adam Liberatore, who injured his right knee covering first base in St. Louis on Sunday night, was not available for the second game, but Roberts said he is “pretty confident” the valuable left-hander, who has a 1.35 earned-run average in 43 games, won’t have to go on the DL.
On the mend
Brett Anderson, who had surgery in early March for a bulging disk in his lower back, is scheduled to begin a minor league stint by throwing three innings for Class-A Rancho Cucamonga on Thursday night.
“It’s not all the way back, but it’s the next major hurdle to get over,” said Anderson, who was 10-9 with a 3.69 ERA last season. “It will be my first time in a game, so I can get some adrenaline going and focus on pitching instead of rehabbing, which is always good.”
Reliever Yimi Garcia, out since April 23 because of a biceps strain, and utility man Enrique Hernandez, out since June 28 because of left rib-cage inflammation, are rehabbing at double-A Tulsa. … The Dodgers Foundation will hold its second Blue Diamond Gala, which will honor broadcaster Vin Scully and feature a concert by Fleetwood Mac, Thursday night on the field at Dodger Stadium. For tickets and information visit www.dodgers.com/gala.