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Don't expect Dodgers to trade for catching help

March 8, 2010 |  7:41 am
Bako Now the question becomes: Do the Dodgers need to trade or sign another catcher to get through Russell Martin’s groin injury?

The injury is expected to keep Martin out four to six weeks. If it turns out to be six, it means he misses the first two weeks of the season.

If that’s the length of his absence, making a trade seems unlikely and unwise. You don’t give up a young player to plug a two-week hole.

And, really, there is no catcher of significance left who’s a free agent. The only free-agent catcher of any renown is Paul Bako, and the Dodgers have already had that experience. He was a backup to Dioner Navarro in 2005.

Bako is good behind the plate but doesn’t bring much offensively, which sounds a lot like A.J. Ellis, the Dodgers minor-league catcher now slated to be their primary catcher until Martin returns.

"His ability to catch and throw and run a staff we feel is close, if not at, major-league caliber right now," Dodgers General Manager Ned Colletti told reporters in Phoenix.

"He’ll have an opportunity, and that’s what careers are sometimes made from."
Ellis has been in the organization for seven years and will turn 29 the first week of the season. He’s had three major-league starts. Still, the Dodgers seem comfortable with what he brings to the position, at least in the short run.

Colletti told Ken Gurnick at dodgers.com that he’s not thinking about making a trade to acquire Martin’s replacement.

"I'm not out right now looking for a catcher who can start for the Dodgers," Colletti said. "If Russell is going to be out for the entire season, it'd be something we'd think about, but not if it's going to be maybe two weeks into the season that he'll miss."

Martin said he did not think the extra 25 pounds he gained over the offseason contributed to his injury. Colletti didn’t blame it on the added weight either, though he didn’t seem enthused about it.

"The way he came into camp, we can’t tell anybody what’s best for them," Colletti said. "They have to decide that on their own.

"Obviously he decided coming in the condition he did was best for him. We had communications with him throughout the winter, and then it went cold for a little bit of time. But he knew what’s at stake."

-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Colorado's Aaron Miles, left, slides safely across home plate before Dodgers catcher Paul Bako can apply the tag during a game in 2005. Credit: Brian Bahr / Getty Images

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