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Ellis back behind the dish for Dodgers

LOS ANGELES -- The last time A.J. Ellis caught left-hander Paul Maholm was on April 5, against the Giants, the night he injured his left knee trying to score from second on a hit.

"We've come full cycle," said Ellis, who was activated from the disabled list on Wednesday and teamed with Maholm against the Marlins at Dodger Stadium.

Ellis caught consecutive games for Triple-A Albuquerque in a rehab stint, and even attempted to steal a base.

"Sad to report, my speed has remained consistently bad," Ellis said of being thrown out on that attempt -- which wasn't a final test of his fitness, he added.

"No, it was just playing baseball. It was something I asked [the Isotopes staff, saying] that I just wanted to be treated like a regular baseball player."

Both Ellis and manager Don Mattingly praised the work done in Ellis' absence by Drew Butera, Tim Federowicz and Miguel Olivo (the latter two now back with Albuquerque), but the Dodgers are delighted to have their No. 1 catcher since 2012 back in action.

"He knows our system and what we try to do [pitching-wise], and he's a big part of that," Mattingly said.

"It was a long five weeks," said Ellis, who underwent surgery on April 8. "It was tough at times to be sitting on the sidelines and watching my teammates out there battling."

He said the best part of his rehab was "just to have that normal, next-day soreness, without anything flaring up in the knee area."

Mattingly projected that he will use Ellis on a regular basis, as always, depending on how he feels and what the medical staff advises.

Butera will serve as Ellis' backup.

Earl Bloom is a contributor to Alyson Footer is a national correspondent for Follow her on Twitter @alysonfooter.
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