Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said he likes the every-other-day rotation between his two catchers. Barnes is 26 and just made his first Opening Day Roster. Ellis is 34 and has experience in parts of nine major league seasons.
“I love the way that (Ellis) can mentor Austin,” Roberts said. “Those two guys, it’s a nice combination.”
In Ellis, Roberts said, “I see a mentor, I see a big brother a great teammate. A.J. is in it for the right reasons. He’s a mid- to low-round pick who’s had to establish himself to carve out a nice career. He’s here for the right reasons. He’s here to win baseball games. Whatever it takes.”
Maybe the best thing Roberts did in his pregame media scrum Tuesday was introduce a word into the baseball lexicon: Ploach.
It’s a combination of the words “player” and “coach,” and a more disgusting-sounding alternative to “clayer.”
In Roberts’ opinion, Ellis is approaching Ploach status.
“When I played with (current Chicago White Sox manager) Robin Ventura in L.A., he was a ploach, a player-coach,” Roberts said. “Ploach was Robin’s nickname. It’s a compliment, for sure.”
Roberts said he “certainly” sees Ellis as a future manager.
“He communicates the game. He asks the right questions,” Roberts said. “If he wants to continue in a coaching career I definitely see that as a possibility.”
For now Ellis is a mentor, and even that won’t last long. Yasmani Grandal is eligible to return from the disabled list in time for next Monday’s home opener at Dodger Stadium. Grandal will play a simulated game tomorrow and could return as soon as he’s eligible if the sim game goes well.
Once Grandal returns, it’s likely — though not certain — that Barnes will return to Triple-A Oklahoma City.