Former Dunbar star now the man as Dodgers' catcher

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) - The catcher in charge of the Los Angeles Dodgers' vaunted pitching staff spent part of his offseason learning how to squat.

Don't worry, Dodgers fans. A.J. Ellis still remembers how to play ball after his first full big-league season.

But after his winding path through the minors led him to one of the majors' highest-profile catching jobs this spring, Ellis just wants to keep improving.

Ellis, the former Paul Laurence Dunbar star, worked on his squatting mechanics during his recovery from offseason surgery, determined to reduce wear and tear on his knees. He feels better prepared to catch the high-priced rotation headlined by Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke and Josh Beckett.

Ellis outlasted several bigger-name catchers in the Dodgers organization and only emerged as a starter last season, so he doesn't take his job for granted.


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