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Ellis clears hurdle, returns to Marlins' lineup

Veteran catcher had been out with strained hamstring
March 28, 2017

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- A number of questions were answered Tuesday, as A.J. Ellis caught five innings and got three at-bats against the Nationals at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches.Returning to the lineup after being out with a strained left hamstring since late February, Ellis went 1-for-3 with

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- A number of questions were answered Tuesday, as A.J. Ellis caught five innings and got three at-bats against the Nationals at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches.
Returning to the lineup after being out with a strained left hamstring since late February, Ellis went 1-for-3 with a single and a run scored in the Marlins' 4-2 victory over the Nationals.
"It was one of those games where you got to check off a lot of things," Ellis said. "Got on base. Scored from second on a sure double. Blocked some balls. Received some balls."
The Marlins took a conservative approach building Ellis up to be ready for Opening Day. On Tuesday morning, Miami optioned Tomas Telis to Triple-A New Orleans, which was a sign the organization was comfortable that Ellis would be ready for the opener on Monday at Washington.
Ellis will back up J.T. Realmuto.
The plan is for Ellis to catch on the backfields in a Minor League game on Thursday, the team's off day. And he will be behind the plate on Saturday against the Tigers in the final spring game.
Playing in his first Grapefruit League game since Feb. 26, Ellis batted second, and he lined a single to center off Jacob Turner in the first inning.
Ellis ended up circling the bases in the first inning, but he didn't push it running. Christian Yelich walked, and Matt den Dekker doubled to left. Ellis was able to trot home from second as Yelich was sprinting home close behind.
"We were still intentionally cautious on the bases," Ellis said. "We weren't going to try to leg out any singles. We're not stealing any bases. We're not going first-to-third on anything borderline."
In the second inning, Ellis tested himself throwing to the bases when Wilmer Difo stole second; and was safe on a close play.
"It's amazing how fast the game is when you haven't played in four weeks," Ellis said. "A lot of things that don't happen on the backfield, as soon as you get back out here, you have to reacclimate yourself pretty quickly."

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.