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Get excited: Dodgers activate Dioner Navarro, option A.J. Elllis to triple-A

Lidtc6nc The Great Dioner Navarro Experiment is about to officially get underway.

Make some attempt to contain your enthusiasm.

The Dodgers activated Navarro prior to Monday’s game in Florida, optioning A.J. Ellis back to triple-A Albuquerque.

The Dodgers are of the conviction that Navarro is an upgrade over Ellis, something I remain skeptical of.

It’s not that anyone thinks Ellis is the second coming of Johnny Bench, but he’s solid to very good behind the plate. He’s never going to hit for power, and he was understandably having trouble keeping up his hot September (.417 last 16 games), but he was still hitting a decent .267 -- which is 74 points higher than Navarro hit last season (.194).

Still, it was obvious from the moment the Dodgers signed Navarro what the pecking order was. Manager Don Mattingly even said in January that Navarro would compete with Rod Barajas for starting time, so you knew where Ellis stood.

Navarro, however, injured his oblique at the end of spring training and has spent the first three weeks of the season on the disabled list. He had been rehabbing the injury at the Dodgers’ Arizona camp.

Navarro said he took his wife, two sons and his in-laws with him to Phoenix to help make his rehab bearable.

Now he’s poised to start his second stint with the Dodgers, having first played for them in 2005-2006. The Dodgers traded him to Tampa, thinking they had discovered their long-term catcher in this guy named Russell Martin.

"I’m really excited," Navarro said. "It’s tough when you’re trying to adjust  to a new team, when you haven’t even played yet."

Navarro was with the Tampa Bay Rays last season but lost his starting job, cleared waivers, was left off their playoff roster and then went home all upset instead of remaining with the team as requested.

He was non-tendered by the Rays and then signed a one-year deal with the Dodgers for $1 million. In 31 spring at-bats, he hit .258 with a pair of doubles and two RBI.

-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Los Angeles Dodgers' Dioner Navarro hits a single against the Chicago White Sox during the third inning of a spring training baseball game on March 20, 2011 in Arizona. Credit: Nam Y. Huh / AP

Comments () | Archives (13)

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Hopefully, this just does not matter...................

This is a perfect example of how Ned Colleti is in over his head. AJ Ellis is a fine player and a solid back up you may in turn become a solid starting Catcher.

Navarro is a waste of money!

Hopefully our new president will fire Ned on day one!

we've got more experiments going on than an 8th-grade science class

And, of course, after treating Dodger fans to two horrible seasons, Martin is doing this so far in NY:

Avg .328
HR 6 (He hit 5 last year and 7 the year before)
RBI 16

"Get excited: dudgers activate Dioner Navarro"

- Best Merv Griffin reaction - "ooh...oohhhh."

- Sam Kinison - "Oh, ohhhhhhhhhhh!"

- Homer Simpson - "D'OH!"

Of course Russell Martin is hitting better in NY, he has protection in the lineup. Look at the slugs in the line up next to Martin : Looney, Uribe, Caroll; very easy to pitch around Martin. Martin was done as a Dodger and was not going to perform in LA. I'm glad his career is rebounding in NY

Let's also not forget that Martin is now hitting in probably the best hitters park in MLB. I've seen a few of his HR's in Yankee Stadium, and they would have been nothing more than long outs at the ravine.

Navarro is one of the ugliest looking catchers behind the plate of all time. He looks worse athletically than Piazza who looked like an unfolding lawn-chair when he tried in vain to throw to 2nd base. He won't hit over a-buck-ninety for the Dodgers and will throw about a 12% of runners. He is a hack at best. Pkus is name is "Dioner " fer gawds sakes...yeah I think he is an awful catcher and even a worse hitter.

I'm a better catcher than Navarro and I'm 61 years old....he's slow, no power, and after watching him tonight.....fat!!

Obviously Navarro took hitting instruction from Loney before tonight's game. If Navarro gets enough playing time, Loney's going to have to work for that title of Mr. GIDP.

Worst signing of the year. Wasting Ellis who given the oppurtunity would show he is better than average. Could have spent the money on a lefty out of the pen.

Steve, you've really got it right on this one. For some strange reason, the Dodgers seem to be loathe to give Ellis a real shot. However the more he plays the better he hits. He is solid on defense, much better than Barajas, Navarro or Gimenez. And as you noted he hit over .400 in September 2010, and unlike Loney or Barajas, with just a little playing time was able to raise his sub.-200 batting average to a very respectable .267.

And with his physical size, even decent power numbers might be possible with the confidence of his manager telling him he was the regular catcher. Don Mattingly, anybody remember him, never hit more than 10 home runs during any season in the minors. Yet somehow his power numbers increased dramatically in the majors.


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